Birmingham City Council has today announced Amey as the preferred bidder for its £2.7bn highways maintenance and management private finance initiative (PFI) contract. The contract, a substantial boost for the region, will increase employment and make a real difference to the local highway infrastructure. More than 300 jobs will be created in the city; with a further 300 staff likely to transfer from Birmingham City Council to work on the project with Amey following financial close of the contract.The contract will give Amey responsibility for improving and maintaining Birminghams highway infrastructure including 2,500 KM of road network, nearly 100,000 street lights, as well as over 850 highway structures and bridges across the city.There will be a significant investment in the first 5 years to remove backlogs of work and increase standards, with higher expenditure for a further 20 years to maintain the citys highway infrastructure at this improved standard. Residents should see improvements in the city as early as next year and Amey plans to invite members of the public to give their views on highway maintenance related priorities they want to focus on in their constituency.Cllr Len Gregory, cabinet member of Birmingham City Council, said:The City Council is leading the way with this pathfinder project that will provide a significant capital investment in our roads. The process to reach a Preferred Bidder appointment has rightly been a detailed one. We received two very good bids and these have been evaluated thoroughly. We believe Amey can help the City Council deliver this significant investment in the highway and give Birmingham the improved highway network it deserves.Mel Ewell, Amey chief executive, said:Amey is extremely pleased and excited to be announced preferred bidder for Birmingham City Councils highways PFI.We are aware of the key role the preferred bidder will play in supporting Birminghams continued development and we are looking forward to delivering not only a step change in the citys highway infrastructure and highways service, but also supporting Birminghams vision to be a global city with a local heart.Birmingham and the surrounding area is one of the most important road networks in the UK, providing essential transport links between some of the countrys largest industrial and metropolitan hubs and we are looking forward to improving the citys highway infrastructure for the benefit of all those who live, work and travel in it.The contract, which has a 25-year service delivery period, includes the improvement and repair of the roads in Birmingham including maintenance of footways, bridges, street lighting and traffic signals as well as the upkeep of street scenery such as safety barriers, seats and trees. Amey will also play a part in supporting development of the traffic management strategy for the citys road network. The aim is to implement new technology systems to support the Council in reducing congestion and improving road safety.Frank Coldwell, Ameys project director, said:We are looking forward to getting this prestigious project started and are passionate about helping to improve the citys infrastructure and connections. The initial part of the contract will see substantial investment in the city meaning the local workforce will receive a huge boost as jobs will be created in all areas of the city.Amey currently employs over 1,000 people in the region. Earlier this year the company announced its intention to open an International Design Hub in the city, -now confirmed as Colmore Plaza - in order to consolidate its existing consultancy team and 250 designers, plus a further 500 professional design engineers.