Two French teams chosen for £1.2bn UK road

The Isle of Wight Council has chosen consortia led by French companies Colas and Vinci to submit final proposals for the island’s largest engineering scheme, which will see the winner refurbish and maintain several hundred miles of roads and footways. A preferred bidder will be announced in June.

Two consortia led by French infrastructure firms Colas and Vinci have been selected to submit final offers for a £1.2 billion (€1.4 billion; $1.9 billion) Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract to refurbish and maintain several hundred miles of highways across the Isle of Wight – a small island off the south coast of England. 

The Isle of Wight Council said it hopes to announce a preferred bidder for the contract in June, with financial close expected in October and start of construction earmarked for next April. The winner will have to manage and maintain more than 800 kilometres of highway, over 12,000 street lighting columns and in excess of 2,000 illuminated street signs.

The central government will provide a £260 million grant to help fund the project. The Isle of Wight Council said that under the new contract its “annual contribution to the PFI will be less than the amount it currently spends on providing the services to be carried out under the new arrangement”.

In addition to Colas, the Wight Highways Partnership consortium also includes Aggregate Industries, Lloyds and URS Scot Wilson.