Road Link will build the Haltwhistle Bypass and also take direct responsibility for the management and operation of the A69 between Carlisle and Newcastle
The bypass will be operated by Road Link who intend to employ the services of the North Pennine Link Group, a joint venture of Cumbria CC, Northumberland CC, and Newcastle City Council to undertake road maintenance work.
Sir George said; 'I am delighted to announce the signing of this first DBFO contract today, between the Highways Agency and Road Link. This is a fine example of partnership between the public and private sector which will be instrumental in delivering high quality service to the travelling public
'The PFI also enables us to make faster progress with maintaining and improving the nation's infrastructure than if we relied on conventional funding alone.'
The secretary of state will remain the highway authority throughout the period of contract, and the Highways Agency's principal role will be the payment of shadow tolls and monitoring of the management performance of the DBFO companies, taking appropriate action when necessary
Lawrie Haynes, chief executive of the Highways Agency, said:
'The transfer of risk to the DBFO company will encourage innovation and efficiencies, since Road Link will be responsible for maintaining and operating the A69 for the next 30 years
'This announcement is a significant achievement for the Highways Agency, and re-iterates the position of the agency at the forefront of the PFI. This is the first of 13 DBFO contracts to be signed, and signifies a new era in road improvement and maintenance. I hope to announce contract signatures for the remaining three projects of tranche 1 very soon.'
Road Link is a consortium of six companies. It will take direct responsibility for the operation of the A69 with the new Haltwhistle Bypass being constructed for them by a design and construction joint venture comprising Morrison Construction Ltd, Henry Boot Construction (UK) Ltd, Christiani & Neilsen Ltd, Impregilo S.P.A, Pell Frischmann, Concessionaires Ltd, and operational support from ASTN-SINA.