Northumberland highways and transport projects on track despite the pandemic

Northumberland Council has said ‘most if not all’ of this year’s planned road improvements and transport projects will get done despite Covid-19 causing delays.

A report to the council’s communities and place committee said many projects have already taken place despite the pandemic. The council’s Local Transport Plan (LTP) for 2020-21 features £18.6million of work, with £12.3million earmarked for road improvement schemes.

The report said that above 40 miles of road are to be resurfaced this year and, by the end of September, more than 12 miles had been done since June, with almost 70 of the 168 projects completed.

The annual surface-dressing programme commenced on June 1, three weeks behind schedule, but was completed last month, improving the condition and overall safety of almost 48 miles of rural roads. The micro-surfacing programme which is undertaken on more urban roads has also been done, refurbishing approximately 10 miles.

The meeting also heard about the good progress being made in relation to walking and cycling improvements, bridge repairs and road-safety schemes.

The report to councillors said: “Overall, despite delays caused by the initial lockdown and some loss of efficiency due to the working methods required for Covid-19 to keep the workforce and public safe, the capital programme is progressing well. Staff and managers have performed extremely well in adapting to the new working environments necessary in relation to the pandemic, while often also having to take on additional responsibilities as part of the council’s response to the pandemic.”

This year has seen an additional investment of £15million for maintenance of U and C roads and footways was agreed for 2020-21 and 2021-22, an extra £11.4million was received from the Department for Transport in the summer, and the authority was also awarded £3.7million towards an overall £4.8million steel bridge refurbishment programme.


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