Here is part of the speech by Alan Amos – Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways at the Council meeting on 18/02/2021
“We are a listening Council and we act on what people say to us. Our annual Viewpoint Surveys and all other feedback continue to make it abundantly clear that highways issues are what concern our residents far and away more than anything else and, in particular, it is congestion and the state of our roads and footways. We have put tackling congestion at the top of our list of priorities along with maintaining and improving the infrastructure.
Maintenance.We have repaired:
Footway potholes/defects 5883
Defective manhole covers & gulley lids 374
Kerbing defects 835
Pavements, In a normal year, we spend about £1.8m on footways, but this year it has been over three times that at £5.6m, due to rise to four times that next year at £7.2m. Normally, we have 4 gangs doing pavements, but this year it is now 12.
215 footway schemes will have been completed this year alone equating to more than 70 kilometres of new/improved pavements. Next year, the planned figure is even greater with more than 250 footway schemes being completed equating to 85 kilometres new/improved pavement.
Roads. In a normal year, we spend about £12m on roads but this year it will be upwards of £20m and next year nearly another £20m. Normally, we have three pavers – the massive machines that build new road surfaces - but this year it is four.
We will have completed 350 road schemes this year, equating to over 200 kilometres of road; and next year, we are planning to do another 350 road schemes adding another 200 kilometres in length.
Highways drainage. Since October 2019, we have visited over 70,000 gullies of the 104,000 gullies in the County. This is on an optimised programme which ensures gullies are looked at as frequently as required, which might be monthly, yearly or as much as every three years. We identified problems with 9000 gullies and we have a good understanding of the work required so that we’re ready to hit the ground running in April. We also have 10,000 other drainage assets, including culverts, grips, slip ways, etc. 60. We have 16 Highways Inspectors on the ground and all drainage enquiries are triaged and prioritised accordingly. The £2.5m additional funding will enable us to have more varied gangs working. We will be able to deliver larger schemes, the two/three days schemes, as well as being reactive to all gully defects.
Public Rights of Way. Walking brings a wealth of benefits to our health and wellbeing and we are committed to financial investment in the Public Rights of Way service area. In recognition of this, we will be doubling our existing budget. A record of the good work we have done this year includes: