Council report in Aberdeenshire highlights more spending is needed on road network

Aberdeenshire Council has said if it continues spending the same amount it did last year on infrastructure – roads would only be resurfaced every 441 years.

A roads asset management update is due to be given to Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee on Thursday. reports the Evening Express.

A new report has outlined that as work has not been able to be carried out to normal levels due to Covid-19, only 189,962 sqm2 of an anticipated 1,000,000 m2 of surface dressing has been completed this year, which could leave the road network open to being damaged in the case of a bad winter and requiring more maintenance in the future.

The report, which is due to be heard by councillors tomorrow said: “At 2019/20 spending levels, on average, a section of road would be resurfaced every 441 years while the frequency of resurfacing or reconstruction of footways would be once every 1994 years and 26% of our street lighting columns and 35% of our traffic signals have exceeded their nominal service lives.

“Looking forward, even pre-Covid 19 spending levels would be insufficient to maintain all our infrastructure assets in their current condition and tough decisions will need to be made regarding prioritisation.”

This year, an allocation of £15,389,000 was made towards repairing and maintaining bridges, carriageways, footways, street lighting and traffic signals, but this is projected to rise to £25,250,000 in 2021/22, and £25,500,000 from 2023/24 onwards.

Council officers are now developing a bridge asset management strategy in order to allow them to prioritise the works that need carried out.

As part of the report, officers have said it would cost Aberdeenshire Council £102m over 20 years to maintain the full extent of the current network.

The report adds: “The Council has spent an average of £11.6m per year over the last seven years on planned maintenance. This investment has allowed the condition of the road network to remain relatively steady over the period however some deterioration has occurred in recent years and this decline would be expected to continue at current budget levels.

“It should also be noted that recent winters have been comparatively mild and that current investment levels would be insufficient to maintain current conditions if more severe winters were encountered.

“An annual investment of £17.4m (but inflation-linked and potentially rising to £21.42m by 2040) would maintain the road condition at existing levels. The volume of reactive temporary repairs, public liability claims and levels of customer satisfaction can also be expected to be maintained.

“The current budget allocation for carriageway planned maintenance of £11.75m is only 67.5% of that required to maintain steady-state conditions. If the costs were assumed to increase by 1.1% each year, a continued spend of this value would result in significant deterioration with 46% of our roads requiring attention after 20 years. The cost of reactive temporary repairs and public liability claims would be expected  to rise, year on year, with decreasing customer satisfaction levels.”

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