FOI REQUEST IR2396896 | Resurfacing of Barley Lane

Although presented by Cllr Roy Hill to the Full Council meeting of Devon County Council on 11/12/14, no-one connected to the petition calling for the resurfacing of Dorset Avenue has even received an acknowledgement from DCC – even though the minutes of the meeting state:
The Leader indicated that the relevant Cabinet Member or Head of Service would be asked to respond direct to each of the petition organisers on the issues raised, within 15 days.”

That said, I hold out little hope that anything will be done, as Cllr Hill passed on some comments from a senior Highways Officer at DCC.

The total Highway budget for the current year is made up of a revenue grant of £29.4m and a capital grant of £34.7m.

The funding is used to maintain or improve many different highway assets such as street lighting,  highway drainage safety barrier fencing etc  so only a  limited proportion of this funding is available surfacing repairs. The element available for surfacing treatments on non-principal roads is £16m, of which over half is used for surface dressing treatment across the 12,000km countywide network.

An asset management  approach led by survey condition is used  to select and prioritise surfacing schemes. The current strategy  is to target repairs at major and minor collector roads which connect to the main road network.  As a consequence  the funding  does not extend sufficiently to housing estate roads such as Dorset Ave – which are extremely  important to the people who live there, but  serve fewer people than the adjoining collector roads .

Of course we do undertake highway safety inspections and respond to reported safety defects across the network, including Dorset Avenue and such  safety repairs are undertaken on all roads when required.

Further detail is available at https://new.devon.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/maintaining-roads/highways-funding/

With these comments in mind ,  I was curious why a short stretch of Barley Lane has been resurfaced head of the whole length of pot(hole)-marked Dorset Avenue.

I know that the funds to repair Barley Lane came from additional funding from central Government paid to DCC to deal with the exceptional damage to the highway network over the winter of 2013/14.

So how did DCC decide to use the £9.1m Pothole Recovery Fund?

Well, they established the priorities for road repairs from evidence gained over the winter on the frequency of potholes and taking account of local knowledge and local priorities. Work on the major road network and key links into communities was made a high priority. This matches the winter salting network, which is designed to keep communities and businesses on the move when winter weather affects the network.

However, the say the additional funding was insufficient to repair some of the minor road network, but they will continue to respond to defects and make roads safe.

None of that explains why Barley Lane and not Dorset Avenue, so I I submitted a Freedom of Information request.

I’ve now had a response – Devon County Council’s response is provided below in bold text:

Q What criteria was used to decide that resurfacing that short stretch of Barley Avenue was of a higher priority over Dorset Avenue?

Devon County Council has used pothole defect data from the last financial year to prioritise and target carriageway maintenance programmes.

Primary and secondary winter treatment networks where 5 or more pothole defects have occurred in any 100 metre length, over the winter period(November 2013 – March 2014) were considered for treatment, followed by local validation.

Barley Lane met this criteria being on a primary salting network with 6 recorded defects over the defined period. Dorset Avenue unfortunately did not trigger the 5 threshold for this period, recording only 2 in a 100 metre length during the defined period.

I was also interested if DCC had a list of proposed re-surfacing works

Q Please can you furnish me with the current list of streets that are in need of re-surfacing, in the order of priority in which they will be tackled?

Devon County Council does not hold a list of streets that are currently in need of re-surfacing.

However, the Council does prioritise the re-surfacing of roads in accordance with the Council’s Asset Strategy, available budget, type of treatment, type of asset, etc.

The Council are currently highlighting roads to target for maintenance during the next financial year, however these are still to be assessed. Any safety defects identified will then be prioritised in accordance with the Council’s inspection policy. Non safety related maintenance work will be programmed by the Council’s maintenance contractor. The prioritisation of these works will be based on a number of factors including, minimising disruption and where efficiencies can be determined to ensure best value for money.

If you wanted to know what works are planned these can be viewed at the following website www.roadworks.org and filter to see Devon County Council work.

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