Suffolk County Council has announced new plans to invest an additional £21million in resurfacing and repairing the county’s roads in the next three years.
The plans, revealed as part of a report recommending what the council’s budget for 2018/19 should be, will see 1,000 miles of roads in Suffolk resurfaced by March 2021, a quarter of all the roads that Suffolk County Council is responsible for. This is a commitment made in the council’s Our Priorities report published in 2017.
This investment would improve the quality of roads, reduce the number of potholes and enhance the experience of Suffolk’s road users. It also makes sound financial sense as preventing deterioration will avoid the need to spend more money on reactive maintenance over the same period and in future years. Over 227 miles of Suffolk roads were surface dressed or machined surfaced during the summer of 2017.
The funding will boost Suffolk Highways’ road maintenance and improvement spending in 2018/19 alone by 21% – £40m in total.
Suffolk County Council’s deputy leader and interim cabinet member for highways and transport, Cllr Jane Storey, said:
“Residents and businesses are very clear that they want to see roads and infrastructure improved in Suffolk. This is always the biggest discussion point when I meet people around the county. This significant amount of additional funding is a clear demonstration that we are a listening council and we are committed to investing in our roads to improve conditions for local people and Suffolk businesses.”
The money is still to be approved by councillors at both Cabinet and Full Council meetings between now and February 2018.
If approved, the £21m will be specifically targeted at maintaining Suffolk’s existing road network. Confirming this investment now will enable Suffolk Highways to start planning and preparing this financial year to carry out the additional works across the next three years, based on a thorough assessment of need.
Cllr Storey added: “We’re not alone in seeing reduced funding from the Government. All local authorities need to plan how to use their budgets to make every penny count. Because we have always planned our finances carefully, we’re now in a position and believe the time is right to invest this additional £21m in maintaining our roads. Investing this money now ensures that our roads stay solid for longer and make using them a far better experience for everyone.”
The extra money will be allocated to roads and infrastructure where there is the greatest need. These works will be planned carefully to make the most of the warmer summer weather when surface dressing needs to be done and conditions are the best for machine surfacing. This work will be fully co-ordinated to reduce the impact on road users. It’s not possible to confirm the locations of this work at this early stage. Assessments will be made by skilled technical officers using all of the data and information that is available to them.