Headlines: October 20th, 2000

The task of the new procurement division of the Highways Agency will be to streamline buying and issuing of contracts in order that the roads programme is speeded up in line with the government’s recently announced ten year transport plan.Better procurement practices are seen as key to speedier delivery of future road schemes. The plan is to speed up the time it takes to appoint consultants for design and survey work. It is also likely that future schemes are more likely to use the same company to design and build a scheme, so that all interested parties are involved from the start. Appointing one company earlier in the process will cut out the need for a lengthy tendering process once the scheme has got the go ahead.

Steve Rowsell has been appointed to head the new division. Mr Rowsell has worked for the former Department of Transport and the agency for 25 years. As a project director much of his time has been spent on delivering major schemes such as Manchester Orbital Ring Road, M25 widening, the Second Severn Crossing and the A34 Newbury Bypass.

The agency announced earlier this year that it would introduce new measures for speeding up the delivery of road improvements. These could significantly cut the 12 years it typically takes at present to deliver major schemes.