Highway Operations & Road Management Partnering

What is Highway Operations and Road Management Partnering?

The privatization of jurisdictional highway operations, maintenance and management to private contractors is becoming more common across North America. These programs are very important to the traveling public and require that jurisdictional authorities work closely with the contractors and the public to ensure that highways are well maintained and kept safe for the traveling public in all weather conditions.

Highway Operations and Road Management Partnering is an approach that brings together the key stakeholders in a Highway Operations and Road Management Program to ensure that all stakeholders understand each others’ needs, concerns, challenges and requirements to ensure the safety of the traveling public and optimal maintenance of the highway and road system

What is the Highway Operations and Road Management partnering program process?

A typical Highway Operations and Road Management Partnering Program follows many of the same processes and principles of a Construction Partnering Program. Following are typical components of a successful Highway Operations and Road Management Partnering Program.

Jurisdiction-Wide Partnering Session Workshop – A jurisdiction will often have multiple contractors administering different highway operations and roadway maintenance districts or areas within the jurisdiction. It is good practice to hold a Jurisdiction-Wide Partnering Session Workshop that includes representation from the jurisdiction and all operations and maintenance contractors working within the jurisdiction.

Agendas are specifically designed for this workshop and typically ensure that common challenges and concerns are identified and dealt with on an industry-wide basis.

These workshops are attended by senior level management and supervisors from the jurisdiction and all contracting companies involved.

Annual District/Area Partnering Session – An Annual District/Area Partnering Session is often held for each area or group of areas for the specific contractor for the area. The agendas are specifically created to address the needs for the area and the team, and are generally conducted annually. These sessions are continuous and cumulative over the duration of the contract.

True Colors™ Personality Assessment teambuilding processes are often used in Annual District / Area Partnering Session to help team members understand each other and learn tools and techniques to improve communications and teambuilding during their often stressful work situations.

These annual workshops are attended by jurisdictional managers, inspectors and supervisors, and contractor managers, superintendents and forepersons. Experience has shown that these partnering sessions greatly increase each party’s understanding of the other party’s challenges and concerns, and generally result in major improvements in the administration of these contracts over time.

Partnering Charter

Allan Lowe Construction Partnering & Project Scorecards™ develops a Partnering Charter for every Jurisdiction-Wide or Annual District/Area Partnering Session. When additional annual Partnering Sessions are held, the Partnering Charter is updated.

A Partnering Charter is a document that includes a group photograph of the Partnering Session participants, the Partnership Success Goals, and generally a copy of the agreed upon Issue Resolution Ladder developed and agreed upon by the team at the Partnering Session. The Partnering Charter serves as an icon and a reminder of the commitments made by the team members and is often located in participants’ offices and in field offices for reference during project meetings.

Allan Lowe Construction Partnering & Project Scorecards™ provides hard copies of the Partnering Charter to all Partnering Session participants.

Comments from participants at Allan Lowe Highway Operations and Road Management Partnering Sessions…

  • “This is our fourth annual session and the relationship have improved dramatically over this time. Thank you!”
  • “This system has been very helpful – when we first started doing these sessions I thought they would be a waste of time, but now I know they work. I can’t wait until next year’s session!”
  • “Thanks Allan. It was good to learn about the other team members and what their concerns are. I think this will help us moving forward.”
  • “The Partnership Scorecard mid-way through the year helped us to focus and helped bring us back on track. Using the results in this Partnering Session was good, I think it helped us cut to the chase.”
  • “Some of our relationships in the field were getting pretty fiery so I expected some fireworks at today’s session. I was surprised how well we all got along and made progress. Great program. Thanks.”


I wanted to thank you for all your hard work and positive guidance during our “Annual Partnering” workshops…your experience, people-skills and group facilitation style encourages discussions to remain very honest, open and meaningful for all participants…I have heard nothing but very positive comments from participants…

Kelly McManus
VP Highway Operations
LaPrairie Group of Companies



We have been doing annual Partnership Workshops with Allan Lowe for 5 years. I have seen a great improvement in the way we partner, in the way we communicate and in the way we plan and execute our work.

Mae Stewart, P.Eng.
Operations Engineer
Alberta Transportation



Allan, please accept my thanks for a really great job at our recent province-wide Highway Operations Partnering Meeting. It was an excellent meeting in spite of the last minute changes and most of the credit goes to the way you managed it. Thanks again!

Jim Poole
Highways Operations Specialist
Alberta Transportation