Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Working Party Backs Lib Dem Fears Over Failing Road Network

A working party set up to explore Liberal Democrat concerns about the county’s deteriorating road network has supported their claims.
The Cambridgeshire County Council review group released its interim report yesterday (Monday, September 26) and acknowledged that money is being spent on cheap maintenance instead of proper structural work.
Last year the council spent just over half of the £12.5 million the government has handed out for road maintenance.
And over the last five years it has invested no more than 75 per cent of the funding in the road network.
“This had led to roads crumbling across the county,” said Kevin Wilkins, Shadow Cabinet Member for Planning, Enterprise and Environment. "The Conservatives running the county council prefer to see our roads and pavements get worse and worse than abandon their extremist view to freeze Council Tax.
“We cannot allow this to go on. We are heading for huge costs in the future. We have to embark on a proper road maintenance programme rather than the reactive work which is taking place at the moment. Additional investment now will make savings in the long-term.”
The interim report accepts that 25 per cent of the county’s unclassified roads and footpaths are in need of maintenance along with four per cent of A roads and seven per cent of B and C roads.
Insurance claims against the council for incidents relating to poor road conditions have almost doubled in the last five years from 347 in 2006/07 to 627 in 2010/11 at a cost of more than £800,000.
The review group recommends that a formal programme of maintenance should be adopted with a separate ring-fenced budget to solve the problems in three years.