“Still plenty left to do” with Streets Ahead contract, says council

Still plenty left to do on Amey contract, says council
Still plenty left to do on Amey contract, says council

An update on the Amey contract with Sheffield Council says around 70 per cent of the network has been upgraded but “there is still plenty to do”.

An in-depth 3,500 word report into the PFI contract looks at how Amey is funded, the work which has been completed and what still needs doing.

The economic, environment and wellbeing scrutiny committee requested the update on the 25-year Streets Ahead contract and will discuss the report at a meeting on Wednesday.

Streets Ahead was created to address the declining condition of the city’s roads and pavements.

Philip Beecroft, head of highway maintenance, says in the report: “Like many other councils, Sheffield had battled against a long period of budget cuts and the highway network had suffered as a result.

“To address this problem, the opportunity was taken to apply to central government for PFI credits.

“The Streets Ahead contract includes an improved image of the city helping to attract inward investment, dispel the pothole city tag, reduce CO2 from the new LED street lighting system and have smoother, safer roads leading to fewer accidents and more reliable travel time.”

Tree felling by Amey provoked huge protests but trees are not mentioned in this report in great depth.

“The issues related to the tree replacement works are well documented elsewhere but as a major issue in relation to Streets Ahead it is good to report that following extensive talks with campaign groups since October 2018, site work commenced in January 2019 on a compromise approach to retain more street trees.

“This has been made possible through the efforts of the campaigners and the response by Amey to fund additional works outside the contract and the council being able to temporarily suspend some elements of the contract specification without affecting the long term aims of Streets Ahead.”

The report details some of the improvements and says over 96,000 requests for street cleaning have been dealt with.

Old sodium street lighting has been replaced throughout the city with a modern LED system which has a longer life. Carbon emissions are now around 76 per cent lower than at the start of the contract.

More than 1,000 bridges and highway structures have been checked and improved; more than 3,300 drainage gullies have been replaced and 70 watercourse culverts have been improved to reduce flooding.

The report says around 70 per cent of the network has been upgraded but “there is still plenty to do”.

“This equates to around 755 miles of roads and 1,490 miles of paths. The result is safer, smoother roads and a dramatic reduction in dangerous potholes by around 60 per cent since 2015.

“Plans for 2019 include surfacing 100 miles of road and 50 miles of footways. The lifespan of surfacing works means that some work carried out in the early years of the programme will need to be replaced again before the contract ends in 2037.

“Much other work will continue. This will include the continued replacement of outdated traffic signal installations when they become 25 years old, ongoing bridge and structures maintenance and systematic replacement of old highway signs and road markings as the reach the end of their life. Routine maintenance will continue throughout.”