A new road maintenance contract will open up promising new opportunities for the management of the state highway network throughout Taranaki, says the NZ Transport Agency.
Regional highways manager David McGonigal says the new $55m contract will enable more efficient management of the state highway network, more incentive to innovate, opportunities for smaller firms to play a part, and better job security.
"In Taranaki, we have 530km of state highway, and it's a huge task to look after every inch of that network."
"It's a demanding area, with some tough terrain and changeable weather, and this contract will enable us to take a fresh, forward-thinking outlook to addressing some of the challenges we face throughout the highway network."
"This contract is geared to help us use resources more efficiently and deliver a high standard of highways for the public while managing the rising cost of operating the highway network."
"Contractors have a good incentive to be more proactive in identifying innovation when they are committed to more autonomous, performance-based contracts."
"The trend towards longer contracts also provides an opportunity for better job security for the people who work hard on our country's roads, and more assurance for employers to invest in their staff.
Mr McGonigal says the contract requires that a minimum of 20% of work be subcontracted to other firms. This has created further opportunities for local players who may not be in a position to bid for a large contract but are capable of making a meaningful contribution to the management of a vital strategic asset.
"Setting a minimum of subcontracted work will help to foster a healthy spread of work and expertise throughout the region."
Downer Maintenance Manager Dave Nicholls has welcomed the appointment.
"Downer Taranaki are excited by the opportunities the new contract brings, working directly with the NZ Transport Agency alongside contract partners Opus, Whitaker Civil Engineering and Cape Mowing"
"The new contract model encourages whole of life decision making by the successful supplier, and this means Downer will play an integral role in the process"
"It"s great for Downer and our bid partners to have secured a contract with potentially six years of work ahead for us"
Mr McGonigal says the contract will be performance-based, with the focus being on the delivery of good quality outcomes for the network and all road users.
"Downer has been our maintenance contractor for the Taranaki region for some time, and they bring a wealth of experience, local knowledge and professional expertise."
The company has established depots in New Plymouth, Stratford and Hawera.
The new contract will take effect on 1 July 2014 and runs for five years with the opportunity to extend to six years.
Mr McGonigal says the Transport Agency is grateful to all the contractors who in recent years have contributed to the maintenance and management of the Taranaki state highway network.
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