Highway maintenance is set to be high of the agenda for Cambridgeshire County Council, as they look at innovative ways to tackle the area’s road network.
At a recent meeting of the council’s highways and transport committee, members were given an update on highways and the delivery of improvements across the county.
Councillors were also warned of the challenges facing Cambridgeshire’s roads, like extreme weather conditions, ongoing financial pressures at a local and national level and inflation.
Cambridgeshire is leading a consortium of local authorities in the pursuit of additional support and funding to address the impact of climate change on the roads, reports the Fenland Citizen.
But many of the highways on peat soils – which includes all those in the Fenland area – would require major reconstruction which is likely to be a significant cost to the council and could only last up to five years.
As a result the committee heard the council’s highways team are looking at innovative solutions and preparing for what can be done in the meantime to ensure the roads are safe for the public.
Members were also told about the progress made in delivering highway service improvements – doubling the crews on the ground dealing with potholes, the new proactive approach where the council is ‘finding, recording and fixing’ minor surface issues before they develop into potholes, the use of artificial intelligence technology being used to survey the condition of roads and identify issues before they develop. Finally, drainage maintenance where 54 schemes have been delivered.
Councillor Alex Beckett, committee chair, said: “Maintaining our roads is a constant challenge, but we haven’t let up on the fight against potholes and improving the condition of our roads, pavements and cycleways. We heard today all the good work which is continuing around our county and demonstrates how we’re committed to tackling and reversing years of decline.
“We’re investing more money, finding more resources and exploring new ways of working to battle the issues as quickly as possible.”
In an interview after the meeting Cllr Beckett said the innovative solutions being looked at include ways of dealing with dips and holes without putting increased weight on to roads, which leads to further subsidence problems.
He said: “Previously, if there is a dip in the road, such as you find on many Fenland roads, it has simply been filled in with extra material. But all that does is add weight to the road and causes further problems.
“What we are looking at, and it is at an early stage so I can’t go into details at the moment, are ways to strengthen our peat roads and for instance looking at different methods on how roads can be lifted up and strengthened to stop them crumbling along the edges.”