The Minister for Transport and Islands, Derek Mackay said that appointing a single operating company to manage and maintain both Bridges and the adjacent trunk roads provides the most cost effective and efficient means to operate what will become a prestigious part of Scotland’s Trunk Road Network.
It is anticipated that the Contract will be signed before Christmas, and will take effect from 1 June 2015.
Amey will first become responsible for the Forth Road Bridge, and later the Queensferry Crossing when it opens in 2016, providing a unique Bridges focussed Unit within the Scottish Trunk Road Network.
Mr Mackay said:
“The Trunk Road network is essential for people to commute, and for goods and services to be delivered across Scotland, and there will be few more visible examples of these connections than the bridges across the Forth Estuary, which will unite North East Scotland, Fife, the Lothians and the Central Belt.
“We are investing £677.7 million in this current financial year in the Trunk Road and Motorway Network.
“As a result of our robust Contract requirements, Ministers have secured a range of Community Benefits, such as a commitment to procurement from local small and medium sized enterprises, training and employment initiatives, as well as educational and charitable contributions by the new Operating Company, including facilitating visits to both the existing Road Bridge, the new Crossing when it opens and support for two work clubs in the Unit’s area. Full recognition of Trade Union rights is also a requirement.
“Amey’s own strong commitment to engineering skills, staff training, and employee retention, all part of its integrated business model, was identified as significant during the tender process.
“I also wish to pay tribute to the efforts of those current and former staff who have worked on the Bridge, either as part of FETA or its predecessor, the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board over the last fifty years. It is important that the skills and experience of current staff are retained to help secure this next phase of the life of the Forth Road Bridge, and also that Amey is able to utilise those skills when the Queensferry Crossing becomes operational, ensuring no diminution in the level of service currently provided by FETA.”
The Scottish Trunk Road and Motorway Network will now be divided into five geographical units, each with a contract awarded to an Operating Company. The 4G contracts for NW and SW of Scotland, and NE and SE of Scotland were awarded in 2012 and 2014 respectively. BEAR Scotland runs the NW and NE; Scotland Transerv is responsible for the SW region. Amey is responsible for the SE and will be, subject to a successful Alcatel (stand still) period, responsible for the Forth Bridges Unit.
The Forth Bridges contract will run for five years with scope for extending up to a maximum of ten years. The independent Performance Audit Group (PAG) audit the work of the Operating Companies on an annual basis.