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Regional partnerships

Regional maintenance partnerships

Since 2006, SWTRA has been continually evolving its trunk road management and maintenance operations and has achieved numerous milestones of achievement in its short life.

The latest development in the evolution of the services delivered by the agency is the introduction of regional partnerships run by lead local authorities to deliver the routine maintenance required on the network on a daily basis. This involves key services such as maintaining safety barriers, structures, drainage and lighting and also grass cutting, litter collection, sign cleaning and regular safety patrols.

Previously frontline routine maintenance was provided by eight individual local councils. SWTRA found this inefficient in communicating with a variety of local service providers all with differing standards of service and inconsistencies in service delivery.

Wishing to create greater consistency and predictability in service delivery, SWTRA embraced the Welsh "Making the Connections" agenda and developed the regional partnership model for combining service provision.

In partnership with local authorities, SWTRA has created three individual service delivery contracts each headed by a single partnership provider, they achieved this by creating three new "regions" across the network. These three new regional Lead Authorities will themselves contain partnerships of local authorities, which have come together to offer service delivery to trunk roads.

The services offered by the Lead Authority fall under the management control of a single Partnership Manager with his own dedicated supervisory and support staff. These arrangements have provided benefits to SWTRA in creating service surety where uncertainty previously existed and ensures that across the region services are consistently delivered to agreed standards of service. The resulting improved communication between the agency and the providers is vital when reacting to emergency incidents particularly on those areas of the network that experience considerable congestion at peak times.

One major improvement has been the way that routine maintenance on the M4 motorway in South Wales, from junction 23 at the Second Severn Bridge to Junction 49 at Pont Abram, has now been considerably simplified such that there are now only two providers of routine maintenance rather than prior to April 2009 when there were four individual organisations operating on the M4. This will considerably improve management of operations particularly emergency response and winter maintenance by more efficient communication, co-ordination of response resources, and better management of activities across the network to reduce the need for road maintenance lane closures.

The arrangements have also provided WAG as the end client, with predictability in the cost of the service and a framework for performance comparisons both across the agency and also comparisons between the three agencies operating within Wales as a whole.

The outcome of these regional maintenance partnerships is a very Welsh model that embraces local authorities' resource strengths and local knowledge in an inclusive way in managing trunk roads and motorways within their administrative boundaries. This involvement is welcomed by these local councils since these roads form the economic lifeblood for sustaining and regenerating their local communities. Involvement in managing these roads by those who have a vested interest in their well being is fundamental to providing motivation to those delivering services, as opposed to other forms of contracting where shareholder benefit is a paramount concern.

South East Wales
Lead Authority Monmouthshire
Provider Partner Cardiff
Network includes
  • M4 (Severn Bridge II to J34)
  • M48
  • A48(M)
  • A4232 (M4:J33 to Culverhouse Cross)
  • A449
  • A4042
  • A465 (Dowlais to Llangua)
  • A40 (within Monmouthshire)
  • A470 (M4 J32 to Taffs Well)
South Central Wales
Lead Authority Neath Port Talbot
Provider Partners Bridgend and Merthyr
Network includes
  • M4 (J34 to J49)
  • A48 Sunnycroft to Earlswood
  • A465 (West of Dowlais)
  • A470 (Cefn Coed to Taffs Well)
  • A4060
South West Wales
Administering Authority Carmarthenshire
Provider Partner Pembrokeshire
Network includes
  • Trunk roads West of M4 (J49)
  • A40
  • A487
  • A4076
  • A477
  • A48
  • A483