Highways England creating Smart Motorway Alliance to upgrade country’s network

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Highways England (HE) is inviting companies to join a new £4.5bn (US$5.7bn) alliance that will maintain, operate and modernize the country’s smart motorway network over the next decade, and is hosting briefing for potential partners from the supply chain in Birmingham today (December 10).

The government-owned company has launched the procurement process for its new Smart Motorway Alliance, with the agency seeking six partners to join it for 10 years to help develop a smarter network, creating extra lane capacity to relieve congestion and allow more traffic to use the country’s busiest motorways.

The new infrastructure that goes into creating that extra capacity will also form the foundations for connected vehicles to England’s motorways in the future. The Smart Motorway Alliance is the second part of HE’s ground-breaking Routes to Market procurement approach, which was launched earlier this month when it announced the companies it will work with the agency on £8.7bn (US$11bn) worth of Regional Delivery Partnership deals.

HE has developed the model through engagement with the supply chain. The innovative and infrastructure-leading approach will enable a step-change in performance and aid the delivery of a large number of schemes that will increase capacity and reduce congestion on motorways, while improving safety during the delivery of these schemes.

HE is seeking:
• Three on-site delivery partners with responsibility for construction works and delivery in the North, South and Midlands regions;
• Two digitally enabled design partners with responsibility for scheme design from initial concept through to delivery and closeout;
• One production management partner to lead and coordinate the program by integrating efforts between the six partners and HE.

The six partners will work with HE to provide exemplary performance and achieve results that include:
• Better safety, through better aligned and common working practices and reduced time on site;
• More efficient delivery, through a programmatic approach that will drive standardization, production and off-site assembly;
• Improved customer service with a reduction in time needed for works and minimizing any disruptions for road users;
• Increased investment in skills and innovation from the supply chain, supported by a secure and long-term pipeline of work.

The contracts are outcome-focused, and partners will be collectively responsible and rewarded based on delivering efficiencies. The Smart Motorway Alliance puts integration and collaboration between HE and its supply chain at the heart of how the agency’s smart motorway program will work.

“We want a step-change away from traditional thinking and more toward creating value,” explained HE’s chief executive Jim O’Sullivan. “We want companies that can learn from their experiences and work together to deliver ever improving efficiency and productivity.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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