The Enquirer has seen a briefing note issued by Highways England procurement chiefs to major contractors outlining its approach to working through the coronavirus (C-19) crisis.
It states: “The Highways England direction and guiding principles have not changed – they are to remain focused on safely maintaining our critical services at all times and minimising the impact on our staff, our customers and our supply chain.
“From our supply perspective we are continuing to operate in a business as usual way for the foreseeable future to ensure that we continue to flow cash to all tiers of the supply chain.
“We aim to come out of the C-19 challenge with a supply chain that has been both supported and protected and is fit for purpose.
“I ask that all suppliers treat their supply chains in the same way, without a combined effort we run the risk of damaging the overall Highways supply chain.”
Anyone helping support the strategic road network is counted as a key worker under government guidance and road sites are operating as normal.
Highways England is speeding up payments to Tier One contractors and is keen to see the money flow down the supply chain.
The note said: “We must come out of the C-19 challenge with a supply base that is fit for purpose at all tiers.
“Therefore please ensure that you continue to pay suppliers promptly and make every effort to improve the speed of payments to mirror the Highways England approach.”
Highways chiefs are also looking to accelerate come maintenance plans as traffic volumes drop on the roads.
The guidance stated: “Due to reduced traffic volumes we are assessing options to start some activities earlier than planned.
“This also supports our approach of keeping the supply base operations as close to business as usual as possible in these challenging times.”