End in sight for pot-holed Sheffield roads

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A two billion pound road repair project to finally consign Sheffield’s ‘pot hole city’ tag to history will start in just four months’ time.

The project is to start in August after the scheme - the largest public works project ever carried out in Sheffield - cleared its last hurdle with contractor Amey appointed to carry out the work.

The 25-year contract includes the improvement and ongoing maintenance of the city’s 1,900km - around 1,200 miles - of road, plus 3,300km of footway, 36,000 highway trees, 500 traffic signals, 68,000 street lights, over 18,000 items of street furniture and 12,700 street name signs.

The contract will also include services such as street cleaning, winter gritting and landscape maintenance.

Sheffield Council says the project will bring smooth pavements and road surfaces which will help reduce vehicle maintenance and fuel costs and more reliable road journey times.

It will also lead to well-lit streets which officials say will ‘dispel the fear of crime and the feeling of social exclusion’ and produce attractive streetscene and clearly-signed roads.

Some 500 staff in Sheffield Council’s Street Force department will be transferred to Amey and more than 170 new jobs, including 30 apprenticeships and graduate trainee jobs, created as part of the Private Finance Initiative scheme.

Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole said: “This is the largest public project in Sheffield’s history and the biggest Private Finance Initiative project of its kind in the country.

“There is quiet satisfaction within the Town Hall that we are able to proceed when other authorities are having to work out where their funding is going to come from for highways maintenance.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to refurbish the roads, pavements and streetscene across the whole city and is a priority for the council. It will also be a bonus for the local economy with the extra jobs being created.

“We will be working closely with Amey over the coming months to ensure they are fully geared up to begin the improvement works on the highway network later in the year.”

The PFI contract includes £1.2bn of money which will be borrowed by the contractor and repaid by the Government, plus £800m of funding the council would normally spend on road maintenance.