The Councils Executive committee will discuss the vexed question of highways maintenance next week.
If there is any basic public service likely to raise public ire, it is the number of potholes and cracks in roads and footpaths.
The conditions simply reflect many years of under investment in maintenance work.
The new Council was elected on a manifesto which promised improvements. They quickly moved to allocate an additional £1 million budget although half of this was earmarked for new cycling and footpath projects.
The expectation was that the, all too obvious, major problems would be quickly identified and a programme agreed for repairs. Anyone reading the report will be very disappointed. There is no refreshed list of roads that will be resurfaced this year.
Officials even plead for existing policies to continue.
Councillors have had long enough to get a list of repairs on a ward by ward basis. With only 6 months to go in the current financial year, contracts for these repairs needed to be issued quickly.
Ideally this should have been done before ice took a further toll on the vulnerable surfaces of poorly maintained surfaces.
The report talks of an annual condition survey. The survey details condition of every highway. All are graded between 1 and 5 with 5 being those in worst condition. (Grade 1: very good, • Grade 2: good, • Grade 3: fair, • Grade 4: poor, • Grade 5: very poor)
Over 13,000 stretches of highway are categorised as grade 5
That is little help.
A more detailed assessment is needed if the worst roads are to be prioritised.
The list is available for download from “open data” click here It is unfortunately categorised by ward names which were superceded over 15 years ago.
Still we can say that streets like Foxwood Lane and School Street are amongst the worst in the City. The 50 year old potholed access roads to Spurr Court and Morrel Court are graded at 4 (poor). Footpaths in streets like Walton Place don’t even get a mention.
We hope that Councillors will ask some searching questions next week.
All is not as it should be with highway maintenance operations at the York Council.