SOMERSET Council has signed an eight-year contract with Kier Transportation Ltd to deliver core maintenance across its 4,172-mile road network.

The £225million deal covers key maintenance works, including road repairs, drainage, verge cutting and winter service such as gritting and emergency functions in adverse weather.

The current contract with Milestone Infrastructure finishes at the end of March. Since 2021 the council has been engaged in a tendering process involving suppliers from across the UK.

In a change to the way it delivers services, the council has divided up the existing contract into four separate contracts covering different areas of service delivery to increase efficiency, cost effectiveness and innovation while being more resilient to climate change with a reduced carbon output.

Kier Transportation Ltd submitted a successful bid for the largest contract covering term maintenance from April 1.

Bids were tested across a range of criteria including value for money, carbon reduction and bidders’ commitment to social value across the county.

Somerset Council’s executive committee approved the deal earlier this month.

Many of the staff currently operating under Milestone Infrastructure will transferring to Kier.

Three other multi-million-pound contracts covering resurfacing, surface dressing and new assets will be awarded in due course.

Cllr Mike Rigby, Somerset Council’s lead member for transport and digital, said: “We’re really delighted to have Kier Transportation Ltd as our new partner maintaining our network. They met all our key criteria and have some exciting proposals about taking the service further in terms of carbon reduction, efficiency and maximising social value for our communities.

“We’ve had a fantastic working relationship with Milestone Infrastructure and we’d like to thank the team for their hard work and dedication, but with the conclusion of the contract there was an opportunity to do something new.

“This is a major refresh of our network maintenance services, something we’d not seen for 27 years, so we are committed to building in resilience to climate change, ensuring a safe, serviceable and sustainable network that is fit for purpose for all users and supports the growth of the local economy.

“Now more than ever it’s vital that we have a financially resilient service that is cost effective, as well as being flexible and agile, attracting the best people and embracing new technologies to enable innovation.”

Somerset Council is working closely with Milestone Infrastructure to ensure the transfer process over the coming months is as smooth as possible.