The South Australian Government will soon release a tender for the modernisation of the state’s entire 23,000km road network.
The tender will involve upgrades and maintenance works for the network managed by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI), which consists of 14,000km sealed and 9,000km unsealed roads.
The tender process will begin in April 2019 and is expected to be completed by mid-2020, with the intention of having new arrangements in place by the end of 2020.
Currently, about 60 per cent of the annual road maintenance budget is delivered by industry through external contracts.
The SA Government will extend its 20-year partnership with industry to modernise the state’s approach to maintaining our road network, as announced in its 2018 Budget.
It expects the move to save SA taxpayers up to $9 million a year from 2021/22.
SA Treasurer, Rob Lucas, said, “By partnering with industry, we will be able to keep pace with increasing demands of maintaining South Australia’s road network.”
Mr Lucas said that by further capitalising on the expertise and efficiency of industry, the State Government can better achieve its goal of upgrading SA’s roads.
“Proposed contracts to maintain these roads will see the State divided into four zones – Adelaide metropolitan, Regional South, Regional North and Outback.
“Having four dedicated areas will allow us to leverage the expertise of road maintenance contractors and allow them to focus on providing the best possible outcomes for their area.
“Grouping similar road types within these four zones will provide further efficiencies for potential contractors to help save taxpayer dollars.”
Mr Lucas said a key priority is to provide road users with reliable networks to ensure efficient and safe journeys. The SA Government intends to work with contractors to deliver improved services with greater innovation.
“The opening of road maintenance activities across the State to competitive tendering will also attract new investment, support local employment and local industries,” he said.
“The approach to road maintenance will continue to have a strong focus on local job opportunities.
The proposed contracts will include requirements to sub-contract to local small and medium businesses as well as the employment of trainees and apprentices.
“It’s important to reiterate that everyone who currently has a job with the department, and wants a job when these contracts start, will have a job.”
The initial contract term is proposed to be for seven years with an option to renew for a further six years (three plus three) subject to the contractors meeting performance standards linked to levels of service and performance.
DPTI will be consulting with its workforce and relevant unions regarding the proposed future model for road maintenance to ensure they are best placed to take up opportunities under the new road maintenance contracts, either with the Department or with successful contractors.