Southend Council is considering recruiting more highway engineers into its team, with a possible expansion from 61 to 76 posts.
The move is part of plans to remove a large number of agency and interim staff, to bring on board a raft of graduate engineers needed to help deliver major regeneration and infrastructure projects in the town and to ensure highways projects are not delayed, according to the council.
The council estimates each year it funds repairs which total between £1 and £2 million to highways damaged in the course of development works.
The council said that more enforcement would provide more income and those who damage roads and pavements, including utility companies, are pursued to pay for the cost of repairs.
Ron Woodley, cabinet member for Transport, and Inward Investment said: “This proposal represents a substantial and much needed investment in a crucial area of the council’s operation – our roads, cycleways and pavements. Every resident and business across the town relies upon a high-quality network of roads and pavements to get about, to meet friends and family to do business and send and receive deliveries.
“They are the arteries of our town yet the team responsible for engineering them and enforcing them needs to be strengthened, expanded and retained so that we can realise our bold ambitions to regenerate the town and grow sustainably. We also need to do more to ensure those who obstruct or damage our roads and pavements bear the heavy cost of their actions, so that it is not local residents who foot the bill in their council tax.
“Importantly, these proposals would also bring about new opportunities for graduate engineers and prospective enforcement officers to start out in a rewarding and fruitful career in Southend to the benefit of our local economy.”