Plan for £2bn rebuild of city’s roads to begin

HIGHWAYS engineers yesterday condemned roads in a Yorkshire city as the “worst in the country” as they revealed the first two areas to be tackled under a £2bn repairs and maintenance scheme.

Graham Simons, of Amey, the company which has been engaged by Sheffield Council to transform its roads under a 25-year private finance initiative (PFI) plan said it would be a “huge project”.

He said the company has recently signed a similar contract with Birmingham Council and said he could “safely say” Sheffield’s highways were much worse than those in the country’s second city.

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Mr Simons said bringing the city’s network up to modern standards under the Streets Ahead scheme would take five years, with teams tackling the task in a series of “zones” to minimise disruption.

He said once each phase was complete, no further major work would be needed for “10 to 15 years” with the company being paid by the council to maintain roads and footpaths until 2037.

Work on the first two areas, Shiregreen and Ewden, will begin in September. Mr Simons said the areas were chosen because they were at opposite sides of the city and had different challenges.

Sheffield has been split into 81 residential zones and 27 major zones, with work expected to take 15 to 20 weeks. Several zones will be tackled at once.

Around 500 city council staff have transferred to Amey under the deal, with 170 new recruits also being taken on.

According to Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for highways, no major zone has yet been identified, but he said the start of the project was “fantastic news” for Sheffield.

He added: “The state of the roads across the city has been the number on issue with residents and businesses for many years.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve our roads, pavements, bridges and street equipment.”