EXTRA REPAIRS: On Wrexham’s potholed minor roads could cost £250k
Extra repairs to Wrexham’s pothole-ridden minor roads could cost £250,000, politicians have been told.
It follows a request for Wrexham Council to review how it fixes damaged road surfaces in the area.
Councillors expressed fears that residents were being failed by the local authority’s current approach at a meeting in February.
Their comments were made after officials admitted they did not have enough money to go beyond making temporary repairs.
Highways officers have now responded to a request by members of the council’s homes and environment scrutiny committee to consider whether minor roads should be given greater priority.
They concluded changes could be made to the policy if an additional £250,000 per year is provided to cover the costs.
However, deputy council leader David A Bithell warned it could have a negative impact on repairs elsewhere.
In a report, the authority’s lead member for environment and transport, said: “At the request of the homes and environment scrutiny committee, officers have considered potential revisions to the highways safety inspection policy.
“The current policy does not attribute any category one defects to lower hierarchy roads, and therefore this proposal would afford some priority where this would not have been prioritised previously.
“The proposed amendments to the policy will have the effect of identifying more pothole defects for reactive repair.
“Whilst this can be seen as a positive, as more repairs will take place earlier, this will inevitably divert time and attention away from more long-term programmed repair works, and this should be noted by the committee.
“In addition, if the proposed amendments to the policy are approved by executive board, there will be an additional cost of approximately £250,000 per annum, which will be met within the existing cash-limited budget.”
The council has estimated around £40m would be needed over ten years to bring Wrexham’s roads up to standard.
Cllr Bithell said more money would be needed to cover the proposed policy changes to cover extra staff, vehicles and repair materials, with a six month lead-in time before they can be implemented.
An additional £1m was included by councillors in last year’s budget towards highways maintenance work.
Cllr Bithell added: “This additional funding has allowed the department to increase staff resources in this area and ensure that operatives have appropriate vehicles to perform their role.
“Further investment has been delayed somewhat due to Covid-19, however we have begun piloting use of different methods e.g. hot tar on category two repairs, to enable us to understand the most appropriate approach to defects going forwards.”
Committee will be asked to give their feedback on the potential changes when they meet on Wednesday (September 22, 2021).
The proposals would require approval from the council’s executive board before going ahead.
Words: Liam Randall, Local Democracy Reporter
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