The A1 Motorway Upgrading in Yorkshire, England



The A1 Motorway Upgrading in Yorkshire, England

Authors

A Briggs, Highways Agency, UK

Description

Abstract

BACKGROUND
The A1 through Yorkshire provides a vital link in the strategic network linking Scotland, the north-east and south of England. On some sections the route carries in excess of 100,000 vehicles per day and the UK Government is committed to a major investment of over £500million to ensure that the route is upgraded in order to function effectively in catering for national and regional needs.

In December 1998, the Minister for Transport announced that two major A1 schemes in the Targeted Programme of Improvements, would be taken forward under the Private Finance/Public Private Partnerships (PFI/PPP) Initiative and that a Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) contract would be tendered for a contract award in 2002/2003.

THE A1 DARRINGTON TO DISHFORTH DBFO PROJECT
The A1 Darrington to Dishforth DBFO Project will be the 10th DBFO contract to be awarded by the Highways Agency. It consists of the operation and maintenance of 33 miles (53km) of the A1(M)/A1(T) between Darrington, on the A1 just to the south of the existing A1/M62 Interchange, and the existing A1/A168 Interchange at Dishforth, east of Ripon. It also includes the design and construction of two Targeted Programme of Improvement (TPI) schemes, which will provide 15 miles (24km) of new dual 3 lane motorway. The two TPI schemes are:
* A1(M) Ferrybridge to Hook Moor (Estimated cost £183m)
* A1(M) Wetherby to Walshford (Estimated cost £46m).

The appointed DBFO Co. will raise the necessary finance for the project, design and construct the highway improvements and operate and maintain these and other sections of the A1(M) and A1(T) for 30 years.

THE PAYMENT MECHANISM
The Highways Agency has developed a new arrangement for paying the DBFO Company responsible for managing the route, which reflects current government policy for improving journey time reliability and highway safety. The mechanism is known as the Active Management Payment Mechanism and it will be the first time anywhere that such a mechanism is brought into use to pay for the services and requirements in the DBFO contract.

Key Elements of the A1 DBFO Payment Mechanism:

Congestion Management The Congestion Management payments will commence after the issue of the Permit To Use for the new schemes constructed by the DBFO Co. Key features of the congestion management element are:

* Payments are made to the DBFO Co for traffic flowing freely along the Project Road above a target average speed of 90 kph;

* Payments are reduced when the average speed of traffic falls below the target average speed. This provides an incentive to the DBFO Co to manage any congestion causing event on the project road. However allowances are made to lessen the impact of reduced traffic speed as flow approaches the deemed capacity of the road. This retains an incentive to manage congestion while reducing the risks associated with congestion due to lack of capacity;

* The mechanism also allows for the possibility of flow exceeding deemed capacity. In this circumstance a bonus will be paid to the DBFO Co for traffic travelling above a minimum speed under high flow conditions. This provides the DBFO Co with an incentive to actively manage and bring forward proposals to keep traffic flowing freely;

Once the Monitoring System is operational, traffic speed and flow will be constantly measured using inductive loops. Average traffic speed on carriageway sections of approximately 2 km lengths and over one hour periods will be recorded.

Safety Performance Adjustment The A1 DBFO Payment Mechanism also includes a comprehensive safety performance adjustment to encourage the DBFO Co. to build, operate and maintain the project road to a high standard of safety. The mechanism is based on the safety record of the whole project road as measured by personal injury accidents.

The DBFO Co.?s performance is compared to a safety benchmark, which is adjusted annually to take account of the national trend and safety gains. If the performance of the DBFO Road is better than the safety benchmark a positive adjustment is made to the DBFO Co.?s payments, but if it is worse a negative adjustment is made.

The safety benchmark is adjusted annually throughout the contract to take account of:

* the general safety trend as measured by selected equivalent comparator roads; * safety gains due to bringing into use the new schemes required in the Contract;
* any safety gain arising from the introduction of additional works, instigated and paid for by the Highways Agency.

THE PROGRAMME
The DBFO contract is programmed for award in February 2003 with major highway construction due to commence in April 2003. The A1(M) Wetherby to Walshford scheme is expected to be opened to traffic by Spring 2005 and the A1(M) Ferrybridge to Hook Moor scheme by Spring 2006. The DBFO Co will then operate and maintain the route under the control of the new payment arrangements for the remaining 30 years of the contract.

NEW INITIATIVES AND LESSONS LEARNT
The Highways Agency has learnt a number of lessons from the early years of running the first tranches of DBFO projects. As well as explaining more details of the new payment mechanism developed for first use in the A1 DBFO Project the speaker will mention other aspects introduced into this contract which have been developed to improve the management and operation of this and future DBFO contracts.

Publisher

Association for European Transport