One of the key focuses of the trip for Volker Stevin Canada was to gain a greater understanding of the UK highways service delivery, in preparation to proposed changes in the way Canadian highways service delivery is procured and managed.
The visit included a tour of the typical UK road networks in London and other areas of the UK with CVU (the major Joint Venture between Colas, VolkerHighways and URS for the London Highways Alliance Contract (LoHAC)), and meetings with major industry service deliverers and associations such as the Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA), the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP), the National Highways and Transportation Network (NHT) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
Volker Stevin Canada is a highways service provider and one of VolkerHighways' international sister companies, part of Dutch parent company VolkerWessels. Volker Stevin Canada has a wealth of experience undertaking highways maintenance contracts and construction projects for the government of Alberta, Canada.
Peter Hyde, VolkerHighways managing director, said: "We use different technology, our terrain is different, our contracts and frameworks are different, so of course there is a lot to learn for both parties. It has been a fantastic opportunity to be able to share industry best practice from around the world with people who bring a unique perspective to the table.
"The industry we work in is not isolated to the UK. Highways infrastructure is worldwide, and with many of our sister companies operating in some of the most innovative countries, it is crucial for us to make use of the knowledge we can gain and share this with our UK clients and the industry as a whole.
"This year the UK has suffered some of the worst flooding ever recorded, and Canada suffered the same fate very recently. Volker Stevin Canada shared with us its impressive flood response to the damages caused by the heavy rainfall that destroyed major parts of the Trans Canada Highways in Canmore, Canada. It was a huge undertaking, with 140 full-time employees and 13,000 man hours needed to repave the missing chunks of their key business and tourist transportation corridor.
"What's impressive is not just the way they dealt with the sheer scale of the flood damage, but also how they engaged with their stakeholders to gain support and continue to hold a fantastic reputation after the event.
"The visit was a great success, and there are still lessons to be learnt and more information to be shared. VolkerHighways will ensure that it continues to develop best practice and expertise within the highways sector by working in partnership with other like-minded bodies."
Fred Desjarlais, vice president of Volker Stevin Canada, said: "There exists such considerable knowledge and talent within our shared group of companies, it is our continuing challenge to make time and priority to exploit the opportunities of our collaboration.
"Our visit to the UK has provided us some considerable advantages to advance our joint business interests of creating value in a sustainable way, all through the simplest of methods, meeting and talking. We look forward to developing an on-going process of knowledge transfer."
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