Highways Improvement Plan
- Meeting of SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE, Thursday, 12 July 2018 10.00 a.m. (Item 93.)
- View the background to item 93.
To receive an update on the Highways Service Improvement Plan 1 outcomes and Service Improvement Plan 2 proposals, as requested at a previous meeting.
The Head of Highways introduced the report and advised Members that the service improvement plan had been drawn up to address three key themes which had subsequently been assimilated into the plan and as a result 22 of the 32 actions identified had been addressed.
The Operations Director and Contract Director from Ringway Jacobs (RJ), the contractor responsible for delivering highways maintenance and improvements delivered a presentation which set out a 6 month progress update, the priority assigned to particular works, an update on the Member portal, street light performance, future innovations and improvements and the impact of recent extreme weather. The contractor acknowledged the need to react with greater speed to issues raised and as a result had been working hard to minimise back office procedures which had historically hindered an expedited process. Members were advised that historic assets had not been included in past asset data collection exercises and this had caused delays to the maintenance programme. Measures to rectify this were now in place so improvements were expected during 2018-19.
The Director for Community Services acknowledged the challenges facing the local authority which was running at a seven year deficit with regards to highways works and maintenance but highlighting that some other local authorities were at a 35 year deficit. Therefore in comparison, Central Bedfordshire Council was in a stronger position than many others and the Director was committed to hold the contractor and highways team to account for performance.
In light of the presentation Members discussed the following in summary:-
· The cost associated with street lights burning during the day and the need to log instances where this was occurring.
· A lack of confidence that enough had been done to address the 32 actions identified within the report.
· That the spray injection programme was effective in repairing carriageway defects quickly but was not as thorough as a full repair, acknowledging the need to prioritise works accordingly and within the resources available to the Council.
· The importance of accurate and timely data and the impact on performance.
· The need to consider the Government’s long term commitment to promote the use of electric cars and the need for the local authority to ensure the appropriate infrastructure (charging points) was in place to accommodate this.
· The need to address the rise in compensation claims against the Council due to car damage caused by road defects.
· Concerns that the gully cleaning process was too slow and the associated flooding risk if too many were blocked. In response it was confirmed that the programme of works was ongoing and that new equipment was being deployed in order to expedite the process which, due to inaccurate historic asset data was a larger than anticipated programme of works.
· Clarity around the teams and agencies responsible for the initial planning of roads, acknowledging the need to work closely with partners in order to ensure new roads met local need.
· That the Committee acknowledge the progress made by the Highways Service Improvement Plan and the outcomes of the Service Improvement Plan (SIP1).
· That the Committee support the proposed actions for the 2nd phase of the Service Improvement Plan (SIP2).
· That a detailed performance update on the next phase of the improvement plan (SIP2) be delivered at a future meeting, ensuring a greater emphasis on detailed data and statistical information.