The Highways Agency has named Balfour Beatty as the winning candidate of a £300 million contract for its operations in the north-west.

Officials revealed that the international infrastructure group will be responsible for maintaining, operating and improving part of the organisation's strategic network around the region, and it comes after Balfour Beatty was also named to takeover a major housing contract in the Midlands. The Highways Agency will see the company join together in a 70:30 partnership with Mott McDonald to maintain the upkeep of the roads in the north-west, which incorporates all parts of the region.

The Area 10 Asset Support Contract is set to be mobilised in November and will see both firms look after 500 kilometres of motorway and trunk roads in areas such as Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside and parts of Lancashire over the next five years.

It is designed to provide the best quality surfaces and driver experience for all motorists that are using these highways until the current deal expires in 2017. It is the second contract of this kind to be awarded by the Highways Agency following Area 2 in the south-west of the country earlier in the year.

Ian Tyler, Balfour Beatty chief executive, said: "In awarding this contract to our joint venture, the Highways Agency has recognised our excellent track record in delivering high profile projects for the highways sector.

"As a group, we are committed to growing our share of the transport maintenance market, both in the UK and overseas and are one of the longest established providers in this vital service-led sector."

The move also highlights prime minister David Cameron's pledge to see more private companies take control of the country's road network in a bid to ease the strain on public finance. While the introduction of toll roads has not proved a major success with many drivers still preferring to use normal motorways rather than paying to drive highways such as the M6 Toll Road, private companies maintaining motorways is seen as a way of easing the country's economic hardship.

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