Bucks roads chief: “We need to get best value for money from road repairs”

Mark Shaw
Mark Shaw

If I had a pound for every comment I get about Buckinghamshire’s roads...!

Roads are a priority for residents and I’m the first to agree the surfaces of many of them aren’t as good as we’d like them to be.

We’re working on this daily: at the rate of more than 200 resurfacing schemes a year.

But with 2,000 miles of intensively used roads and 1,500 miles of footways - and a finite amount of money - it’s a long job.

Which is little comfort for those who drive over bumpy surfaces that seem to wait ages for any attention.

I understand that.

So why do we repair some and not others?

It’s about using our nine pothole teams effectively, ensuring the most urgent repairs are done first.

If we used them to repair smaller defects at the same time, it could leave a larger more dangerous hole further up the road unrepaired. Safety is a top priority, so we must do urgent fixes first.

Our teams did a great job last year repairing more than 31,000 potholes.

So far this year we’ve repaired around 4,000 and our Jetpatch Team, who scout the roads for defects, handle up to 150 square metres of additional repairs every day.

This year we’re aiming to fully resurface nearly 60 miles of road - that’s equivalent to a road stretching from north to south of the county - and tackle seven footway projects.

All this will cost around £17.5m.

Where we can safely leave a damaged road surface until we can permanently resurface it - as we did recently with the short stretch of Weedon Road, Aylesbury - it’ll help that money go further.

We’re working through the enormous task of maintaining our roads as quickly as we can but I’m aware we’re spending public money, and I want to ensure at every stage we’re not guilty of knee-jerk decision-making, so we get the best value for money.

Of course, I’d like us to be able to resurface more roads more quickly, but as the old saying goes: ‘road wasn’t built in a day...’