The Highland Council is set to consider additional £5.5m investment in the roads infrastructure as part of its collaborative £10m investment plan for 2022-23.
The additional £5.5m proposed is on top of £25.5m already agreed for roads in recent months, and would bring the total to £31m.
Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: “The additional £5.5m we are proposing to put into our roads is on top of £25.5m agreed over the past 2 years. This extra funding will enable considerable improvement and would take our additional total investment in our road network to over £31m over a 3-year period. Area committees have also had funding which they have been able to prioritise on local issues.”
Depute Leader, Cllr Alasdair Christie, added: “The £5.5m we are proposing is made up of £3.5m of one off spend from Reserves in 2022-23 and £2m additional revenue in the annual roads maintenance budget for this and future years. Financial prudence has enabled the Council in building our General Reserves which allows us to be in a position to invest in the Highlands, while closing the budget gap and addressing the challenges and risks moving forward.”
Corporate Resources Spokesperson for the Opposition, Cllr Ian Cockburn added: “ With over 6,700 km of road-length connecting communities across the Highlands and providing lifeline links, we will always be challenged to effectively finance the condition and maintenance of our roads. We need to continually find ways of providing sufficient funds to ensure the correct level of maintenance and resource is delivered. This extra funding will assist in the recovery of our roads condition and we now look to finding other funding avenues to continue this in the future.”
Cllr Jimmy Gray, added: “The funding proposed will not just provide new equipment and tar, but will sustain important jobs in our roads teams.”
The Highland Council manages and maintains the following roads assets:
- 6,754km of road network (Length of adopted roads in Highland)
- 1,700km of footways
- 2,180 bridges and culverts (a structure that allows water to flow under a road or railroad)
- 1,000 retaining walls
- 48,800 lighting columns
- 100 car parks
Other road assets include non-illuminated signs, cycle ways, drainage, road markings, road restraint systems and street furniture.
The budget proposals will be considered by Council on 3 March 2021.