Struggling to cope as the holes get deeper

By Ian Dipple Friday 11 April 2014 Updated: 11/04 09:36

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Buy photos » A pothole in need of repair on Green Lane near Webheath. Pictures by Ian Dipple (s).

COUNCIL chiefs admit they are struggling to maintain the condition of Worcestershire’s roads as figures reveal more than half of residents are now unhappy with the state they are in.

Worcestershire County Council is now looking at whether it should redirect highways spending to target potholes, poor road markings and signage which research shows are the key factors in determining residents’ opinion about road conditions.

According to the Worcestershire Viewpoint Survey the number of people satisfied with the county’s road network has fallen from 42 per cent in 2011 to 31 per cent last year.

A total of 51 per cent now say they are dissatisfied, while in Redditch just 31 per cent of people think roads are kept in a reasonable condition.

But highways bosses say the overall condition of Worcestershire’s roads has actually improved as a result of extra investment even though satisfaction is falling.

An extra £500,000 has been invested in highways maintenance this year and the Government has just given the council an additional £2.1million following the recent flooding to make road repairs, although it has yet to be decided how and where the cash will be spent.

More than 30 roads across Redditch including major routes such as Alvechurch Highway and Coldfield Drive are set to be included in the new surface dressing programme for 2014/15.

But Coun Andy Fry, who represents Arrow Valley West on the council, said while the extra money was welcome, it was unlikely to stop road conditions deteriorating further.

“The roads in Worcestershire are appalling and have been for as long as I can remember. There are too many potholes and too many surfaces breaking up and not enough money to put it right,” he said.

“This is a result of under investment over the years and Redditch gets a poor deal. I’ve always thought Redditch has got a poor deal and I can’t see anything, even with the extra investment, that’s going to change that view.”

Figures released in 2008 suggested it would take about £50million to bring the county’s roads and pavements up to scratch.

The issue was discussed by councillors at a recent meeting looking at ways of increasing satisfaction levels.

One suggestion is to trial focusing spending on key factors such as repairing potholes in areas where road conditions are perceived to be the poorest and compare it to areas with a normal level of investment.

A council spokesman said: “Overall, it seems it is very important how the investment is used, but across the country it looks as though current levels of investment are struggling to maintain the road network in its present condition.

“Whilst it is difficult, there are opportunities to focus improvements to highways in order to maximise the possibility of increasing local resident satisfaction with roads. Before committing to any such approach, consideration should be given to whether to prioritise such action over the maintenance of the actual road network.”

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Buy photos» According to Coun Andy Fry there are too many potholes and too many surfaces breaking up like this one on the Warwick Highway. (s).

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Buy photos» The condition of Tunnel Drive has been criticised by residents.. Picture by Ian Dipple (s).

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