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Agenda item

Highways Scrutiny Update (Overview report from Highways Team)

To consider a report on the Council’s performance on highway maintenance.

Minutes:

Members considered an update report from the Head of Highways which examined the council’s performance on highway maintenance in the context of the assessments and repairs processes and the allocated budgets.  The current maintenance backlog was estimated at £112m.

 

The report outlined the annual condition survey process and prioritisation of maintenance works on carriageways and footways categorised as functionally or structurally impaired (grades 4 and 5).  Annexes 1-5 to the report showed the direction of travel on every grade (1 to 5) from 2016 to 2019.  The current approach to highway asset management was detailed in the reports to Executive at Annexes 6 and 7; investment in the network since 2015/16 was shown in paragraph 8.  The council used two frameworks for contractors to complement its own workforce.  Quality criteria for assessing contractors to be placed on a framework were set out in Annex 8.  The council was also represented on several national groups supported by the DfT and had involvement and / or interest in a number of innovative projects and trials of new materials, as detailed in paragraphs 11 to 19.  The focus of the service was to develop the Highways Asset Management Plan and update the Winter Service Plan. 

 

In response to Members’ questions, officers provided further information, which may be summarised as follows:

·        The backlog was increasing, as in all local authority areas; however, York did have some ‘future proofing’ in place.

·        There was not enough information pre 2015 to determine when road conditions began to deteriorate.

·        Alleyways were included within the highway network, unless un-adopted.

·        Repairs were programmed for periods when they would have less impact on businesses, usually January to March, although optimum temperatures for some surfaces were in summer.

·        Officers were obliged to prioritise main roads, in accordance with the national code of practice; ward funding could be allocated for repairs to local roads with a lower usage.

·        The challenge of balancing these two areas of work was appreciated; new staff being recruited to the ward programme would help to improve the allocation process.

·        Participation in the NYCC and Yorkshire Alliance frameworks  (paragraph 9) had delivered savings of 28% and each piece of work was subject to a 2-year warranty.

·        Efforts were being made to encourage the DfT to trial carbon-reducing innovations in the York area (para 18).

·        Depreciation of the highways network was a national problem that would require additional investment to resolve.

 

Members thanked officers for the report and their input, and

 

Resolved:  That the information provided in the report and at the meeting be noted.

 

Reason:     To confirm that the committee has been updated on issues relating to highway maintenance.

Supporting documents:

 

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