Civil engineering contractors say a report that Scotland’s road network is continuing to crumble at an alarming rate has come as “no surprise whatsoever”.
Spending watchdog Audit Scotland says more than a third of council-maintained roads are in need of repairs and has identified a deterioration in the over-all condition of motorways and other trunk roads since 2011 despite billions of pounds being spent on new projects.
Local authority spending on road maintenance fell by 14% over the same period and it has been estimated that poor or defective road conditions may have contributed to six fatal, 64 serious and 234 minor road accidents over the five-year period. The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Scotland) told Scottish Plant it has lobbied consistently for an increase in funding.
Local and national roads authorities need to be more innovative, develop better ways to compare relative efficiency, and engage better with road users, the report says. “Sharing roads maintenance services on a regional basis can offer significant benefits but progress in developing this has been slow and there is still no clear plan or timetable to deliver it in practice, the report says.
Accounts Commission chairman Douglas Sinclair, said: “The state of our roads is a major concern for the public. Surveys show that they remain dissatisfied, despite these concerns being flagged up in our two previous reports. Their voice needs to be listened to.
“Councils face increasing pressures and challenges but progress in developing a shared services approach for roads has been disappointingly slow. They can and should collaborate much more to secure better value for money.”
Spending on motorways and key trunk routes, which are maintained by Transport Scotland, fell by four per cent between 2011/12 and 2014/15 while the proportion in acceptable condition also fell, from 90% to 87% over the same period. Transport Scotland spent £24m less on structural maintenance in 2014/15 than it considered necessary to maintain road condition at current levels.
Auditor General Caroline Gardner commented: “A well-maintained roads network is vital for Scotland’s economic prosperity. We cannot afford to neglect it. What is needed is a longer term view which takes into account both the need for new roads and the proper maintenance of what we have at present.”
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Article posted 4/8/2016