£23m boost unveiled for Lancashire's roads

County Hall has pledged to look at preventing road problems rather than shelling out on repairs as highways bosses sign off new £23m spending plans.

Monday, 13th March 2017, 7:14 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:10 am
Potholes on Market Place march towards Berry Lane in Longridge

A rolling programme of work over a number of years is intended to ensure the county’s roads stay in good order.

Mike Kirby, director of corporate commissioning, said the council’s transport asset management plan is guided by three key factors - the increase in traffic, the increase in extreme weather conditions and the impact of reduced funding.

He said: “We’ve started to move from a worst first approach to a more preventative approach.”

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Celebrations at the opening of the Bay Gateway, the new M6 link road. From left, Coun Janice Hanson, coun John Fillis and leader of Lancashire County Council Jennifer Mein.

The most expensive project on A, B and C classified roads will see £214,987 spent on micro-asphalting Woodplumpton Lane to Woodplumpton Road in Preston Rural division.

In Longridge, King Street and Market Place will get much needed repairs with £31,941 allocated for carriageway resurfacing on a stretch from Dilworth Lane to Kestor Lane.

There are 124 surface dressing programmes.

The most costly is £263,077 to be spent on the Heysham link project surface dressing the highway from Northgate traffic lights to Middleton Road.

Roadworks in Preston

In Preston Rural division £14,783 will be spent on a Catforth Road project, surface dressing from Rosemary Lane to School Lane.

Meanwhile £16,099 will be spent on Woodplumpton Road from Blackpool Road to Banksfield Avenue.

Just over £1m is being spent on rural unclassified roads. Schemes include £12,592 work on Moss House Lane in South Ribble surface dressing Carr Lane to the end.

Work on urban unclassified roads will take another £1.2m while the footways programme includes 19 Chorley projects - more than half the total.

Celebrations at the opening of the Bay Gateway, the new M6 link road. From left, Coun Janice Hanson, coun John Fillis and leader of Lancashire County Council Jennifer Mein.

The £1m drainage programme includes £40,000 being spent on Shope Lane/Higher Walton Road in Higher Walton to replace a highway culvert and upgrade a culvert to the River Darwen outfall.

A £3m bridge programme includes £300,000 to replace a footbridge in Aughton and £96,200 for concrete repairs and parapet repainting on a canal footbridge at Kepple Lane, Garstang.

Some £52,879 has been allocated to replace Public Rights of Way signposts across the county when necessary and £107,880 to deal with any emergency improvement works needed across the county.

The £1.7m Pothole Action Fund is being spent on the unclassified roads network.

Roadworks in Preston

The 30 projects include six in South Ribble, three in Wyre, three in Ribble Valley but there are none listed for Preston or Chorley.

A county council spokesman said: “Our preventative approach to road maintenance has been highlighted as a good example by the Department for Transport, and has resulted in fewer defects now being found on A, B, and C roads compared with two years ago.

“Our approach is to focus investment on intervening at the right time to stop good roads deteriorating, which over the long term produces better results, with better value for money, than the traditional approach of always fixing the worst damage first.”

He continued: “This year’s maintenance programme has been determined using objective survey data on the condition of our roads to inform where and what kind of maintenance we need to carry out.

“This programme of planned maintenance will help to bring our roads into better condition and continue the gradual improvement we’re seeing on the A, B and C roads, however alongside this we will continue to make running repairs wherever they’re needed to make sure our roads are safe.”

Drainage and road safety funds will be spent between 2017/19 as detailed design/consultation work may be required for some projects.

How is the cash divided

A,B C roads - £ 8m

Urban unclassified roads £1.3m

Rural unclassified roads £1m

Footways £3m

Bridges £3m

Structural Defects £2m

Drainage £1m

Street lighting £1m

Road safety projects £1m

Pothole action £ 1.7m

Traffic signals £100,000

Advanced design £50,000

The public is asked to let the council know of any new problems by using the online reporting system at www.lancashire.gov.uk and the council says its “running repairs” will ensure safety needs are met.

Council debate

County Council highways boss County Coun John Fillis is preparing to sign off the plans for a multi-million pound highway, path and bridge maintenance programme in Lancashire on Monday.

But the work, mainly scheduled for 2017/18, was almost derailed before it got to the approval stage.

The county council executive scrutiny committee met this week to consider a detailed report on the programme.

But within minutes, Rossendale County Coun Allyson Barnes asked that it be withdrawn to allow another look at its content “and ensure better balance across the piste.”

Her proposal was backed by Chorley councillor Steve Holgate.

But in the end Tory opposition leader County Coun Geoff Driver, backed by Liberal Democrat leader and committee chairman County Coun Bill Winlow, successfully proposed that the the plan go forward as outlined and it finally gained the committee’s approval.

Council leader Coun Jenny Mein had intervened in the debate, saying: “I’m a bit concerned about the implications in delaying this decision. While not all the projects are not due to begin in April, I think some might need to be done.”

Coun Fillis replied it would be possible to revisit the plan stressing: “If it’s looking at ensuring communities get a fair deal I think that’s important. Any recommendations may not be for this actual project.

“It could be looking at what (the council is) doing in the future.”

The council received £20.5m from the Department of Transport for its highway maintenance programme and £1.7m from the national Pothole Action Fund.

Coun Fillis added: “Our staff have worked extremely hard to get resources from Government.

“ There’s been no sweetheart deal for us. It’s been a matter of pure effort - regarding whether there are delay or costing implications I can’t see any involved.”

Coun Barnes said she was asking “to take another look at this to make sure we’ve got it right. This capital programme has to make sense to residents and members alike.”

Independent councillor Sandra Perkins intervened to make a plea for proper repairs, expressing particular concern over potholes repairs and shoddy work: “It’s got to be done well. If it’s not done well if it’s not done well, it’s handing money over hand over fist - money we haven’t got.”