Roads need £11 mil­lion in in­vest­ment

The Oban Times - - News -

The coun­cil will closely mon­i­tor the fi­nan­cial fore­casts and ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties”

WHILE the roads around Argyll and Bute are of­fi­cially the worst in Scot­land, the lo­cal au­thor­ity is in the top five most im­proved net­works in the coun­try, a re­port to coun­cil­lors will show.

The An­nual Sta­tus and Op­tions Re­port, which looks at the roads net­work through­out Scot­land, will be dis­cussed at a meet­ing of the Devel­ope­ment and In­fra­struc­ture Com­mit­tee that meets to­day, Thurs­day.

It states: ‘ De­spite re­cent in­vest­ment, our roads are still in the worst con­di­tion of all au­thor­i­ties in Scot­land, em­pha­sis­ing the need for con­tin­ued fund­ing to im­prove stan­dards.’

It is out­lined in the re­port that the health and safety of roads will be at risk if in­vest­ment is not main­tained to a high level.

The re­port out­lines the cur­rent coun­cil roads strat­egy which shows that in­stead of con­tin­u­ing a roads re­con­struc­tion pro­gramme, it will in­stead use ‘cost- ef­fec­tive treat­ments such as sur­face dress­ing’.

The re­port states: ‘These treat­ments will tar­get ar­eas in the ear­lier stages of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion and help seal cracks and pre­vent wa­ter ingress (main cause of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion) to pro­tect the pre­vi­ous in­vest­ment ... un­til such times as more ro­bust treat­ments can be af­forded.’

The re­port shows that with­out £11 mil­lion worth of in­vest­ment over the next 20 years, it will be un­likely the stan­dard of the roads will meet the na­tional sta­tus.

If the in­vest­ment was made it would see the roads match the best roads in Scot­land in 10 years and then sur­pass them in 20 years.

The re­port con­firms: ‘The coun­cil has made an in­vest­ment of £30 mil­lion in the past four fi­nan­cial years which has im­proved the over­all con­di­tion of our roads net­work.’

The lo­cal au­thor­ity has said it has up­graded 400 miles of roads in Argyll and Bute, rep­re­sen­ta­tive of around 45 per cent of A roads and 35 per cent of B roads.

The re­port does not take into ac­count the unique na­ture of Argyll’s roads but the lo­cal au­thor­ity said: ‘... some of our roads are in a red con­di­tion when they are, in fact en­tirely ser­vice­able.’

To mit­i­gate the ris­ing costs of the roads net­work, the lo­cal au­thor­ity says it will ‘closely mon­i­tor the fi­nan­cial fore­casts and ex­plore part­ner­ship work­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to gen­er­ate in­come which can be re-in­vested in our roads’.

Coun­cil­lors will be asked to en­dorse the an­nual sta­tus plan and look to­wards es­tab­lish­ing a multi-au­thor­ity or­gan­i­sa­tion (North­ern Col­lab­o­ra­tion) to look at roads through­out the High­lands and Is­lands on a col­lab­o­ra­tive ba­sis.

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