Isle of Wight Council Highways PFI

At the heart of the PFI project is the comprehensive upgrade Ė and maintenance over 25 years - of the Islandís road, footway and cycleway network. Also included is the councilís winter maintenance and roadside verge maintenance programmes as well as its street cleansing operations. The CCTV network will also be maintained and improved as will the Islandís street-lighting network with the installation of low- energy LED bulbs.

The project not only includes proposals to keep open the highways at some of the Islands most unstable stretches including the Military Road and Niton Undercliff, similar work to address movement affecting roads will also take place at around a dozen other locations.

There are at least 120 separate schemes across the Island to tackle stretches of highway prone to rainwater flooding.

In other aspects, the contract will introduce public waste bin receptacles that allow pedestrians to recycle their rubbish.

In order to maximise career opportunities for Islanders, Vinci Ringway and the Isle of Wight Council will also sponsor a number of university bursaries for civil engineering students over the lifetime of the contract.

Under the agreement, Vinci must have regard for the contractís carbon and water footprints. As well as the obvious environmental benefit of this approach the local economy also stands to be boosted significantly as it puts local businesses in prime position to provide materials and labour.

The PFI is financed in the main through a Government grant Ė not a loan and therefore does not have to be repaid. The council will make an annual contribution which will be less than the sum it currently pays to provide the services that will in future be provided through the PFI.

Work will begin in April next year with the bulk of the Islandís roads upgraded within the first seven years Ė known as the core investment period. Traditionally core investment periods are five years but the council has negotiated a longer period to seek to minimise disruption, particularly during the tourism season. Vinci will be required by the contract to minimise disruption and working overnight, when and where appropriate, this will be a common feature of the Highways PFI.