A funding boost will double investment in Edinburgh’s paths, pavements and roads, as the Council plans its biggest spend on improvement projects in almost a decade.
The Roads and Infrastructure Investment – Capital Delivery Priorities for 2023/24 report, to be considered by Transport and Environment Committee on Thursday (20 April), allocates an additional £11m approved in February as part of the Council’s budget-setting process. The extra investment brings the total roads and infrastructure capital budget to £21.781m.
A proposed £11m investment in roads will significantly increase the number of carriageway renewal schemes carried out over the next year, helping to slow deterioration and improve network condition.
These schemes have been prioritised to the areas based on agreed criteria and weighting. As part of this, an additional 5% is applied to roads on the cycle network, promoting renewal schemes most used by cyclists. Edinburgh is the only local authority in Scotland to include such a weighting.
This is alongside a recommended increased £3m budget for footpaths and pavements and a further £500k to resurface rural and residential footways that would otherwise be low priority. As well as resurfacing, improvements can include measures like dropped kerbs and widening footway widths where required.
Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “We have listened to the concerns of residents regarding the state of our roads and footpaths. The latest injection in funding will allow us to significantly increase the number of improvement schemes to enhance the condition of our roads and pavements.
“As a living, breathing capital working within a tight budget, Edinburgh faces a challenge when it comes to maintaining the city’s infrastructure, but this investment should see the situation improve. We need to get the basics right, and this intensive programme of investment is essential for a safe, usable network.
“We are listening to the public, and will resurface whole streets rather than take a piecemeal approach. In addition to this, we are trialling a state-of-the-art ‘Pothole Killer’ machine which will help automate repairs. We won’t get footpaths and roads back to where we want them to be in one year, but this investment will help halt the decline. If this work is approved on Thursday, on Friday I shall start the work of making the case for more funding next year.”
Other areas for investment are street lighting and traffic signals, for which £1.120m is being proposed for upgrades, and the city’s 3,366 bridges and road structures – £0.845m has been set aside for their maintenance, in addition to the major North Bridge refurbishment project.
An allocated £80k would allow the installation of dropped kerb crossings on streets where improvement projects are not already being carried out while £500k would go towards Local Environment Projects, letting the delivery team respond to local issues identified throughout the city.
Any proposed scheme on arterial routes or in the city centre will be carefully coordinated and considered by the Citywide Traffic Management Group to minimise disruption.