‘Common misperception’ around timescales of Sheffield Council resfuracing works as part of £2.2 billion contract
Works being carried out as part of a £2.2 billion PFI contract to maintain and resurface Sheffield’s roads are on track despite a ‘common misperception’ around timescales, a council chief has said.
Philip Beecroft, head of highway maintenance at Sheffield Council, said there was a misunderstanding relating to the amount of works that would be carried out in the first five years of the council’s deal with contractor Amey.
Speaking at the inquests of PC Dave Fields and Lorraine Stephenson, who died in a horror Christmas Day crash, Mr Beecroft said there was a ‘common misperception’ that all of the city's roads would be resurfaced within the first five years of the deal.
Asking questions of Mr Beecroft, who was giving evidence, senior coroner Christopher Dorries said he thought all roads in the city would be resurfaced in the first five years but Mr Beecroft said that was not the case, describing the view as a ‘common misperception’.
Speaking after the hearing, the highways boss said: “People think we were doing all the roads in the first five years and we have never said we are.
“We would never do that because a lot of the roads had been done just before the contract started.”
Amey are responsible for the maintenance of roads, traffic lights, pavements, street trees and bridges in a £2.2 billion private finance initiative deal until 2037.
Mr Beecroft said around 65 per cent of the city's roads were resurfaced within the first five years of the contract – the ‘core investment period’.
He added: “We have never given the impression that we would resurface all the roads in the first five years.
“We have always said that we would resurface approximately 65 per cent of the roads in the first five years, which we did. Those roads were chosen following assessments and surveys.”
The council said resurfacing works would continue to be carried out over the next five years and routine maintenance would continue until the contract ends in 2037.
Mr Beecroft added: “Since the Streets Ahead contract started, we’ve always explained that around 65 per cent of the roads in the city will have been resurfaced in the first five years of the programme. For many, this means a full resurface and for some, where suitable, a partial resurface.
“Over the remaining 20 years of the contract, Amey will be resurfacing and maintaining the city’s infrastructure. This means that the programme will continue with a large amount of resurfacing work being carried out over the next five years and the city’s roads continuing to be assessed through regular inspections.
“It’s a multifaceted programme where roads are subject to regular condition surveys and then resurfaced when required. The staggered approach means that we can ensure the overall condition of the roads is at a good standard when the contract comes to an end in 2037 and beyond.”