On Wednesday 09 November 2016, Devon County Council Cabinet considered a report on the Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Policy, Strategy and Plan.
The minutes note that “Members present expressed continuing concerns at the effect of historic levels of funding made available by Government for highway maintenance which was no longer sufficient to meet current demands let alone the growing backlog of work required. Members attending under the provisions of standing orders also expressed concerns at the apparent divide in the treatment of urban and rural areas and the impact upon the economy of the County as a whole.”
Annex 1 to the report – Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Policy – sets out what this means it practice.
With over 7,700 miles of roads in the county, Devon has the longest highway network in the country. Yet there is a maintenance backlog.
DCC’s asset modelling work suggests that across all highway assets (carriageway, footways, street lighting, bridges, drainage system, etc…..), it should be investing over £55m per year just to keep up with annual deterioration and maintain the assets in their current condition. it is estimated that DCC needs to spend over £167m to to fix the most deteriorated roads requiring maintenance now, and that DDC should be investing approximately £38m per year just to maintain them in a steady state. The capital grant allocation for roads from government was £29m for the 2016/17 year. Thus, every year that DCC is unable to spend what it needs means that highway network condition will deteriorate. This will be particularly noticeable on minor road – and DCC thinks it is therefore essential that to target the money we do have to deliver the most effective maintenance of each asset in the longer-term.
What does this mean in practice?
Recently, Oxford Street in St Thomas was cleared for 5 days for resurfacing work.
Yet within these 5 days, only patching works – rather than the complete resurfacing that’s needed – took place.
As a result, I and my co-councillors have been contacted by local residents confused and angry about what DCC have done, and the poor state the road is in after it has been *repaired*. In particular, they are concerned that loose rubble left after the patching works will cause further damage to their cars.
They understand that the workmen could only do the areas as agreed, but they hope that a full assessment on the true state of the road was made while it was clear of cars.
Like them, we would like to know when complete resurfacing might happen