Reading Council will embark on the Borough’s biggest ever road repair programme as part of a new £9 million investment package being proposed.
Over the next three years, every resident and road user in Reading will benefit from newly laid local road surfaces, newly laid pavements and footpaths and a purge on potholes, which is being proposed as part of the Council’s new budget for 2020 -2023.
While the Council carries out a main road resurfacing programme every year, an estimated 80% of the current maintenance backlog in Reading relates to residential roads and pavements. Most of the complaints received by the Council and local Councillors are about the condition of residential roads.
As a result, around £2.5 million – the bulk of the proposed new capital funding – would be invested next year on new road surfaces and repairs for residential streets and housing estates, with more than £500,000 spent on new pavements surfaces. The Council will continue to invest up to £900,000 of the annual Local Transport Plan capital award, received from central Government, on main roads.
Roads will be selected using the Council’s existing road priority selection criteria, where they are repaired in order of condition. It is envisaged that Councillors will be provided with the prioritised road list for their ward and will then be able to feed their local knowledge into the process, as they are often the first lobbied by residents about priorities in their areas. The rolling list of roads would be reviewed annually to ensure the money is being spent where it will make the most impact.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“This is the most substantial investment on improving road surfaces that Reading has ever seen. Hundreds of residential roads will be resurfaced or repaired over the next three-year period, with the bulk of the Council’s investment on residential roads or local housing estates, where the largest maintenance backlog exists.
“At the same time we intend to invest in new pavements and footpath surfaces, whilst continuing to invest in repairs and resurfacing of main roads across Reading.
“In the last year more than 5,000 potholes have been filled across Reading. This additional investment, and continued efficiencies within the highways department, is also giving the Council the opportunity to review the current investigatory criteria for repairs, which will further improve the condition of road surfaces across Reading.”
The proposed £9 million investment programme includes the appointment of a project engineer to manage the 3 year project. If proposals are agreed, a contractor would be appointed in early spring with the work beginning early new financial year and running through to late autumn every year.
The Council’s planned £9 million investment forms part of the Council’s new Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), which was approved for public consultation at a meeting of the Council’s Policy Committee last night (Dec 16th). The draft MTFS and spending plans for the three years 2020/21 to 2022/23 can be found at: https://democracy.reading.gov.uk/documents/s9629/Budget%20and%20MTFS%20Report.pdf
Reading Borough Council’s final budget for 2020 to 2023 will be agreed in February.