Argyll and Bute Council’s £23million investment in the road network is paying off
Extending some 1400 miles, with an estimated value of over £2.5billion, our road network is our largest and most valuable asset. It keeps our communities connected, allowing for the transport of goods, for commuting, for living and for working in Argyll and Bute.
In February 2012 the council decided to invest £21million in road reconstruction over the three financial years to April 2015, with some further funding from the Scottish Government taking the total package up to the £23million mark.
This programme is now substantially complete, with the rest of the work expected to finish before Christmas, and has seen an improvement to the overall condition of the network.
Prior to this three year programme of works the general condition graph of our roads was on a steep decline. This graph has since bottomed out and is now on a slight upward curve.
The work has involved a mix of resurfacing, patching, surface dressing and in-situ surface recycling throughout the council area. Broadly speaking this work will seal the road, stopping the ingress of water, improve the general driving quality of the surface and reduce the need for reactive repairs. Alongside the engineering work to the road itself we have also cleared surrounding scrub, carried out ditching and drainage work and improved sight lines, leaving a completely finished job.
There are now more roads in our network classified by the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS) as being in good (green) condition and, almost more importantly, fewer roads in the at risk (red) condition. Almost 90% of our strategically vital ‘A’ roads are now regarded as being in a good or fair condition. By the end of the programme we will have upgraded almost 360 miles of road, or 25% of the total network.
Over a third of our ‘A’ roads have been upgraded so far including:
- In Helensburgh and Lomond the A814 and A818
- In Bute and Cowal the A815 and A886
- In Oban and Lorn the A819 and A816
- In Kintyre the A83 south of Kennacraig (pre-trunking)
- On Mull the A848, A884 and A848
- On Islay the A846 and the A847
- We have also upgraded the B836 Glen Lean route across the Cowal peninsula, opening up the route for timber transport
This programme is set to continue into a fourth year with around £5million of works, by the end of which we will have upgraded around 45% of our ‘A’ roads and 35% of our ‘B’ roads.
Jim Smith, Head of Roads and Amenity Services, said: ‘’The roads reconstruction programme has been a huge success, seeing a marked improvement to the condition of our road network. Our road infrastructure is absolutely vital, keeping our communities connected as well as conveying the vast majority of our visitors and the freight that is crucial to supporting our economy.
‘’Before this huge investment our roads had been on a pretty sharp decline. I am pleased to see that alarming slide arrested and the curve now moving upwards. I look forward to our roads team delivering further improvements over the next financial year.’’