Counting cost of not investing in our roads

Barry Giggins

Barry Giggins

In a recent press statement, the cabinet member for highways is quoted as follows: ‘This year’s annual works will restore infrastructure, preventing the need for more expensive works in the future’.

I am rather mystified about the ‘restore infrastructure’ reference as they have been underfunding highways maintenance in the Royal Borough for a very long time and we all know how bad the roads have become.

In November 2015 a report went to the overview and scrutiny panel with various options for maintaining the road network in Windsor and Maidenhead.

This was based on Highway Asset Management and by maintaining the current spend there would be a deterioration in the state of unclassified roads, that, I think, make up about 70 per cent of our road network.

By doubling the annual spend from £1.65million to £3.3million unclassified roads could be maintained in a steady condition while A, B and C roads would improve.

The officers recommended an increase to £2.372million that they said would keep all roads in a steady state but this was not approved.

This was in 2015 when the roads had already deteriorated.

They have kept to the same level of funding for about 10 years, with a very marginal increase this year, yet labour and materials have increased considerably during that period. This means that we have effectively been decreasing the amount of repair work year-in-year.

Yet the cabinet member for highways seems to think that this year’s spend will restore the infrastructure back to its original best. Politicians certainly have a way with words.

Finally, I think that rather than boast about 3,500 potholes repairs in two months, mentioned in the press release, it is a clear indication of just how bad our roads have become.

Barry Giggins



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