Hopes were raised last year when the York Council established a second pothole filling team in the City. It was hoped that the initiative would at least slow the rapidly deteriorating condition of highways in the City.
Expectations were further raised when the Department of Transport allocated part of its “Pothole challenge fund” to the City.
Sadly, the hoped-for improvements have not materialised.
Many highways are breaking up under the impact of ice and frost. A well-maintained surface is less vulnerable to frost damage but lack of urgency in patching roads in the summer and autumn, means that large stretches are now unsafe for users.
Now hidden within a large report, being considered by the Council later this week, is a proposal which would see less spent on resurfacing.
£600,000 will be taken from pothole filling/resurfacing and instead used to partly fund new schemes like the cycle path link from Wheldrake to Fulford.
Even the most extreme pro cycling campaigners are now realising that maintaining existing paths should be the Councils priority when funds are limited.
The existing cycle and highway networks are in poor condition. Why not fix them first before building more paths?
Sadly, one of the reasons seems to be that highway resurfacing activity is not very glamourous.
There will be no official naming of the pothole that Andy filled in.
On the other hand, a new path may – for a while – attract favourable publicity for its sponsors, at least until it too needs to be resurfaced.
Separately, the same report says that
the second resurfacing of Tadcaster Road is being delayed until the summer. Gas main works are currently taking place there.
promised repairs on National Cycle Network 65 will now not be completed until 2021/22.
£877,000, which was to have been spent this year on Highways Ward Committees schemes, will also be delayed until next year.
Work on resurfacing part of Cornlands Road was delayed yesterday because of weather conditions. More rain is forecast for tomorrow (Thursday)
The resurfacing contractors are expected to move on to Gale Lane next week
It is disappointing to see that repairs to the verge at the junction of Kingsway West and Newbury Avenue have not been completed. The damage was caused by large delivery lorries trying to access the (now completed) bungalow building site. We expected the reinstatement to be completed before the bungalows were occupied.
Elsewhere, electrical cable works on Dijon Avenue are taking a long time to complete. This means more nuisance and inconvenience for residents living in the area who also have to put up with the mud generated by vehicles accessing the Lowfield development site.
A reporton highway maintenance in the City reveals that the value of the current back log of maintenance is approximately one hundred and twelve million (£112 million) based on the current condition and cost of repairs.
The figure confirms what many residents had feared. The
condition of York’s roads and footpaths is continuing to decline
A separate annex reveals that, in most parts of the City, between 3% and 10% of carriageways are rated as “structurally impaired”. These are “very poor”, the lowest condition rating.
The figures also confirm that the City’s roads have not recovered from the draconian maintenance cuts imposed by the then Labour administration in 2012.
More recently the new LibDem/Green led Council has substantially increased the resources allocated to highway maintenance.
The figure also includes a delegated budget to be determined at ward level. There is little evidence that this money has so far been invested*.
The report says that from 1st April 2019 until 26th November
2019, the council has completed “16,646.3 m² of pothole repairs, this equates to
520 m² per week, this is 29.71 m² per day, per gang”.
This can be compared with the same period in 2018 when the
council completed “7,586.4 m² of pothole repairs, this equates to 237 m² per
week, with training etc. that was 18.9 m² per gang, per day”
Some of the parties vying for votes at the General Election are promising to fill in all potholes. Government funding has been consistently low in recent years.
We doubt that central government appreciates the scale of the backlog in maintenance work which currently exists
*Each ward also has a share of a £500,000 fund earmarked for improvements for “cyclists and pedestrians”. So far suggestions from residents for the use of this fund – for example to reduce ponding problems on routes across amenity areas – have produced little positive response from officials
The York Councils maintenance
programme for the forthcoming year has been published. Expenditure of over £9
million has been identified although a lot of this will go on addressing surface
water drainage problems. The schedule includes £700,000 for gulley repairs
The programme also
includes investment of over £600,000 to maintain the City Walls, with the focus
being on the Bootham section.
One of the most
expensive single schemes will see Stonegate repaved at a cost of £500,000.
On the west of the
City the carriageways on both Gale Lane and Tadcaster Road will be resurfaced.
Cycle routes will get a £250,000 maintenance boost.
However, the funds allocated
for footpath repairs is disappointingly low. The identified major footpath resurfacing
schemes are all on the east of the City.
It must leave residents
living in streets like Walton Place wondering just how bad a footpath must be before
night the York Council woke up to the major backlog in highway repairs that has
developed in the city during the last decade. Cynics may say that Labour and
the LibDems vying to be the voice of the road user has something to do with the
imminent Council elections which take place in early May.
residents’ surveys have confirmed that poor highway maintenance is now the biggest
concern that residents have.
It will take a major and sustained boost in funding if the roads and paths in the City are to be returned to a safe condition.
School Street must wait for another year for repairs
School Street carriageway surface
The York Council appointed a new highways boss recently.
He’s likely to get a frosty reception if he ventures into Acomb following his decision earlier in the week to leave School Street off this year’s resurfacing programme. The surface of the carriageway there has been labelled “the worst road in York”.
Not a single footpath or road will be resurfaced in neighbourhoods like Chapelfields and Foxwood.
In a break with tradition the report, to another behind closed doors meeting, failed to identify in which wards the programmed schemes are actually located. This had been a useful way to reassure residents that the limited funding was being shared fairly. References are made to several very long streets (Wetherby Road, Front Street, Hamilton Drive etc.) although the money available will resurface only short lengths of them.
The Director has apparently agreed that the assessments made of each road in the City will be made publicly available in future. This is unlikely to be much of a consultation to those living on the west of the City
Local footpaths that will be resurfaced include:
Hamilton Drive (part)
Carriageways due for attention include:
Askham Fields Lane
Wetherby Road (part)
Front Street (Part)
Taken together the investment in roads and footpaths in west York is now at a record low level.
Residents have started a petition aimed at increasing the amount that the York Council invests in resurfacing roads and footpaths.
Speed humps and road surfaces in Hamilton Drive, Middleton/Stuart Road, Windsor Garth, and Ascot Way are crumbling into disrepair.
Residents say that they are a particular danger for cyclists although some car drivers have also started to complain about damage to tyres.
In addition many verges have been destroyed by vehicles during the extended period of wet weather. Things have got worse since the Council abandoned its programme of providing lay-bys and verge crossovers through Ward Committees.
Money is available to pay for repairs as the Council is getting around £2 million a year in “new homes bonus” income from developments like the one starting on the nearby Our Lady’s school site.
It is also sitting on £1.3 million in fines income raised through camera enforcement of the Lendal Bridge/Coppergate restrictions. This money must, by law, be spent on “transport”.
Residents say the funds should be invested in highways repairs.
The Council will decide on Thursday how much of its budget to allocate to highways repairs.
The budget allocation had been nearly halved during 2013 compared to the amount being spent in 2011.
It was reported yesterday that the number of claims against the Council, for damage caused to vehicles during 2013, had increased compared to the previous year.