How the County Council make maintenance decisions

The County Council has approved policies setting out its asset management approach to the maintenance of the highways for which it is responsible. This approach is predicated upon a long-term, preventative strategy for highways maintenance which makes best use of the capital funds available to the Authority. As ever we might not agree with this as a community but it is important to have the correct information.

I will post the location specific responses about roads and footpaths when I receive that information after a site visit but in the mean time I specifically asked how decisions are made about which roads are prioritised for the road and pavement schemes and this was the response I received.

The programme of capital schemes is developed by officers using objective condition data, together with assessments of the rates of deterioration of highways assets. Whilst objective condition data is the primary arbiter, other factors are considered when developing the forward programme of schemes. Such factors include accident records, third party claims, local knowledge, and reports from the public.  A key part of the development of the programme is aligning the location and timing of schemes with the needs of communities.  Schemes are tailored to suite different sections of communities where possible, seeking to ensure that a well-maintained and serviceable network is available to all classes of users.

The resultant programme of schemes is designed to apply the right maintenance treatments to assets, at the appropriate points in their life cycles. Such a preventative approach means that maintenance treatments are timed to prevent assets deteriorating further and then requiring much more expensive, environmentally damaging treatments at a later date. The programme is not focussed on a “worst first” basis. The preventative approach can lead to schemes being undertaken which appear counter-intuitive and programmes that do not allocate funding on a geographical basis.

The Authority’s asset management policies used to develop the programmes of schemes consider the resilience of the county’s highway network and the programme has due regard to managing the impacts of climate change. The 2 year forward programme of schemes places more emphasis on drainage and flood prevention than has been the case in previous years. 

I then queried this as not all roads that fit those criteria have been included in this year’s amintenance schedule and this was the second response:

Unfortunately the highway maintenance budgets available do not allow for all assets to receive an appropriate treatment at the optimal time.  We therefore have to manage parts of the network in a safe condition with due regard to risk.  There may be years when Histon/Impington has a number of footways/carriageways treated, however such capitally funded schemes are managed on a countywide needs based approach, and as such there may be times when limited or no work is carried out in any particular area.

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