Four contractors have been awarded a place on the Eastern Highways Alliance framework providing improvements to infrastructure across the region.

The deal, which is worth up to £75 million, will be for four years beginning immediately and lasting until 2016. The winning contractors include Tarmac, Osborne, Eurovia and Jackson and the four will now compete for the right to work on schemes including road maintenance, highways improvement, drainage, town centre renovation as well as other projects across the areas which are covered by the Eastern Highways Alliance.

Currently, the group consists of nine councils including Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Luton, Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Essex and Southend on Sea. The contract will see the chosen companies look to take on jobs that aim to help the infrastructure within these areas by being appointed on construction work until May 2016.

Paul Fleetham, managing director of Tarmac National Contracting, said: "It [the decision to choose the company as a being a beneficiary of the contract] reflects our strong track record of working in collaboration with local authorities to successfully manage, maintain and add value to their highways assets.

"We will use our expertise to deliver high quality products, advice and services to help the Alliance partners manage their road network and identify value saving opportunities."

As the Alliance looks to private firms to help safeguard the future of their road networks as well as infrastructure in town centres it follows on from prime minister David Cameron's call for the UK highways to become privatised in order to boost the country's economy.

Currently there is only one toll road in the UK, the M6 near Birmingham, but Mr Cameron believes that making motorists pay for using the road could be one way of helping the economy recover. In March, the prime minister suggested that more investment from the private sector could allow for the burden on public finances to be eased in the same way that water is regulated by private companies.

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