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The New Zealand Transport Agency's southern business unit manager, Ian Duncan, said the new $86million contract covering 773km of state highways started from July 1 and was part of an NZTA national initiative to improve roading maintenance efficiency by using a single supplier for each highway network, on a performance-based contract.
Downer held the previous hybrid state highway maintenance contracts for 15 years, with its services supplier MWH.
‘‘Contract tenure will be based upon Downer achieving a number of monthly and annual performance measures which evaluate the efficiency, responsiveness and quality of their work,'' Mr Duncan said in a statement. Otago's state highway network was one of the country's largest, stretching from its northern extent at the Waitaki River to the Lindis Pass, inland to Raes Junction and south to the boundary between Otago and Southland, south of Waipahi, he said.
Last month Downer made 33 people redundant, mainly from its Dunedin construction division, leaving about 400 staff across all its Otago operations.
Mr Duncan said the roading contract covered routine maintenance and operation of the state highway network, signage and markings, resurfacing, pavement rehabilitation, winter maintenance and incident response.
Downer's state highway team has about 45 staff from Downer, MWH, SouthRoads, McDonough and Buxton Consulting based at its Dunedin office, a secondary office in Oamaru and depots and machinery/storage yards in Balclutha, Tapanui, Lawrence, Milton, Middlemarch, Palmerston, Otematata and Omarama.