Additional £3m funding allocated to fix Aberdeenshire’s roads
Council chiefs have announced an additional £3million funding to fix Aberdeenshire’s roads.
Earlier this year, the local authority set aside £2.5million to tackle the growing number of potholes in the region.
But with repairs building up – and work delayed due to the pandemic – the council has allocated further funding to reduce the backlog before winter sets in.
Work is already under way to resurface roads and improve drainage, and bosses are trying hard to “catch-up” on delays caused by the suspension of works and a lengthy winter.
Aberdeenshire Council is responsible for 3,500 miles of road, but has come under increasing pressure in recent months to fix potholes.
North East MSP Liam Kerr has been working with local motorists in the Netherley area to push for repairs.
North-east MSP Liam Kerr said: “Aberdeenshire Council should be commended on allocating more money to repair pothole-plagued roads across the region.
“However, it continues to be the third-worst funded council in Scotland so without more Scottish Government funding, some roads will remain in a dire state until this is addressed.
“Drivers are regularly being forced off-road to avoid hitting giant potholes which are making commuting an absolute misery for motorists.
“This money will help to alleviate issues like this on certain routes and I will continue to campaign to make sure the others don’t miss out.”
Council hit by supply issues and rising costs
Deputy council leader and chairman of the infrastructure services committee Peter Argyle said: “It has been a particularly difficult time for roads and the service has worked exceptionally hard throughout the pandemic.
“There has been a huge amount of catch-up as a result of the pandemic, on top of an unusually hard winter and actually indicates that going through a six-month delay on road repairs is not the course of action any of us would wish to see.”
Supply chain issues have hit the council like much of the UK, as a lack of lorry drivers and difficulties in recruitment have added to the pressure.
As a result, the cost of materials has also risen. Mr Argyll said these factors were making “life as difficult” for the council as the private sector.
The full council unanimously agreed the best way forward was to allocate the extra £3million.
Mr Argyll added: “We now have an agreed programme of works in place which will be carefully assessed and planned to make the most effective use of this additional investment.
“Using results from the national road maintenance condition survey repairs will be designed to best suit the overall condition of the road.
“In some cases this will be a localised repair to the defect, such as a pothole, while in other instances where the overall road is in a poor condition the repair may take the form of a more widespread surface dressing, or indeed resurfacing operation.
“Using this tailored approach ensures that the repairs undertaken achieve the best balance between cost and benefit.”
Time to “make serious inroads” into backlogs
Plans to bring the north-east’s road network up to par are already under way, as maintenance staff will retexture roads, which will reduce skid resistance, and improve drainage.
Head of roads Philip McKay said: “Our widescale annual surface dressing programme has now been completed and preparatory works for next season’s surface dressing programme are now well under way.
“Included within this is a programme of works to strengthen roads widely used by the forestry industry for timber transport which is jointly funded by the council and the Scottish Government’s strategic timber transport fund.
“We know this is having a very positive impact and motorists will have seen a massive increase in our roads operations across Aberdeenshire in recent months. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience during our works and road users are asked to be patient and follow site signing including temporary speed limits.
“Thanks to the additional financial resources agreed at full council last week, we are now in position to tender for a further £3million worth of contracts which will help us to make significant inroads into the backlog of repairs.”