APPENDIX 2

SUSTAINING REPAIRS OF LOCAL ROADS AND FOOTWAYS - BUSINESS PLANS AND PERFORMANCE OUTCOMES

1. Summary

1.1 Cabinet is aware that improving the state of footways and minor roads in Hampshire tops the MORI poll in terms of priorities for additional spending on County Council services. In consequence, it was agreed by the County Council that an additional £3.5 million be allocated for highway maintenance funding for 2003/04. This report provides background information to the reasons behind that request and proposals on how the additional funding may be spent.

2. Background Information on Highway Maintenance Works

2.1 There has been a period of inadequate funding by the Government for Highway Maintenance works. Funding dipped considerably in the period between 1994 and 2000, resulting in a deterioration of the structural condition of the highway network in Hampshire. In the last two years, the County Council has made significant efforts to increase the level of funding and the Government's award for 2003/04 increased by some £2.6 million.

2.2 In the absence of the allocation of an additional £3.5 million for highway maintenance, proposed maintenance funding for 2003/04 would have been:

(i)

Capital Maintenance (Government funding for structural work on `A' roads)

£13.2 million

(ii)

Capitalised Revenue (County Council
funding for structural work)

£11.0 million

(iii)

Revenue (County Council funding
for routine maintenance)

£18.8 million

 

Total

£43.0 million

2.3 Funding of £43 million per annum would maintain the highway network at a steady state level; however, it would not have any major impact on improving the structural condition of the highway.

2.4 Structural work is broadly defined as works which contribute to the overall structure of the highway and include such things as reconstruction, resurfacing, surface dressing and major drainage works (known as Special Maintenance). Routine Maintenance generally relates to minor maintenance works and cyclic work such as grass cutting and gully emptying, as well as street lighting and traffic signal maintenance.

2.5 In Hampshire, for many years the method of assessing the highway condition known as `Highway Assessment of Maintenance Priorities' (HAMP) has been used. This relies on a system of inspections which result in a score or `rating' for sections of road. Typical ratings may range from 40 up to 180. The worse the condition, the higher the rating. The Local Authority Association (LAA) Code of Practice has advisory intervention levels for highway maintenance works which are equivalent to a HAMP rating of 50.

2.6 The intervention levels achieved in Hampshire vary from year to year depending upon the quantity of works required and funding available. In recent years an intervention level below 80 has rarely been achieved. As an example, for Special Maintenance works in 2003/04, the anticipated intervention level with the funding originally available (£4.023 million) was 110. To achieve an intervention level to the LAA standard of 50 would require funding of approximately £27 million for this area of work. The additional spending of £3.5 million will allow an intervention level of 95 to be achieved in 2003/04.

2.7 The Government has introduced Best Value Performance Indicators (BVPIs) for a range of services delivered by local authorities. It is therefore now possible to compare the condition of highways in Hampshire with other similar authorities. BVPIs measure performance nationally for highway condition and are calculated from data collected to nationally agreed criteria. BVPI data is based on a combination of visual inspections and mechanical/electronic assessments and is not directly comparable to HAMP ratings. However, one of the main advantages of BVPI data for highways is that it is collected over a large proportion of the highway network and hence gives a better idea of overall condition. HAMP assessments are only carried out on sections of road that have already been identified as needing substantial remedial works. For highway maintenance, only the 2001/02 figures are available for comparative purposes. A BVPI has also recently been introduced for footways. The first survey of footway condition to the new criteria will be carried out in March 2003.

2.8 Hampshire has 650 kilometres of `A' roads; 2,600 kilometres of `B' and `C' roads; 5,400 kilometres of unclassified roads and 5,600 kilometres of surfaced footways. The present state of the highway in Hampshire is relatively poor compared with other similar authorities. Data collected for highway condition BVPIs show that for 2001/02 Hampshire is at the bottom of the second quartile for `A' roads at 9% and in the fourth quartile for `B' and `C' roads and unclassified roads - both at 18% (see Appendices 1, 2 and 3). The percentages relate to sections of road that have reached a critical intervention level. It does not imply that 91% of `A' roads or 82% of `B', `C' and unclassified roads are in a perfect condition.

2.9 Although there is pressure on all three elements of the highway maintenance budget, it is for structural repairs to non-principal roads that the biggest opportunity exists to make an impact by means of additional funding.

3. Additional £3.5 million Funding

3.1 In utilising the additional £3.5 million for highway structural maintenance in 2003/04 it is proposed to give priority to maintenance works on footways and minor rural roads, which have suffered the worst deterioration over the past few years. The highway maintenance funding would therefore be:

(i)

Capital Maintenance (Government funding for structural work on `A' roads)

£13.2 million

(ii)

Capitalised Revenue (County Council
funding for structural work)

£11.0 million

 

Additional funding

£3.5 million

(iii)

Revenue (County Council funding
for routine maintenance)

£18.8 million

 

Total

£43.0 million

3.2 It is proposed that the additional £3.5 million will be split in the following proportions:

4. Additional Work Proposed with the Extra £3.5 million Funding

4.1 The rural unclassified road network has suffered a steady deterioration for many years, particularly worsened by highway flooding in 2001 and 2003. The additional £0.5 million will enable an approximate extra 8-10 resurfacing schemes to be carried out. The £0.5 million on edge repairs will make best use of modern technology to recycle as much as possible of the existing road surface and underlying material to minimise waste. Initial estimates indicate that the funding could be enough to recycle a one-metre strip along approximately 16 kilometres of road length (recycling a wider strip or along both sides of a road would obviously reduce this figure). It is important to note that these are only initial estimates based on inspections carried out last year. It is not until detailed designs are prepared, in conjunction with the contractors, that it would be possible to confirm the exact number of Special Maintenance schemes and lengths of recycling that can be achieved.

4.2 Footways have also suffered from a steady decline in condition. The additional funding means that in addition to the approximate 156 footway special maintenance schemes originally proposed for 2003/04, a further 140 schemes can be done. The additional funding of £0.5 million on footway surface dressing will enable an additional 60 kilometres of footway to be treated.

4.3 Appendix 4 shows an indicative number of additional proposed schemes. Highway staff are presently compiling detailed lists of the additional carriageway and footway sites that will be added to the maintenance programme. Inevitably, some changes will occur to such a large programme of works during the year, as each of the detailed designs are carried out. Hence, the final list of completed schemes may differ slightly, but not significantly from the initial programme.

4.4 The table in Appendix 4 identifies the maintenance requirement based on the Local Authority Association Code of Good Practice for Highway Maintenance. The costs identified represent the difference between that funded by the proposed 2003/04 programme and the work which remains on Hampshire's Special Maintenance programmes above a preferred intervention level.

4.5 The table identifies only a small part of the overall maintenance backlog but illustrates the difference between actual funding and nationally accepted desirable levels of funding, ie actual Special Maintenance funding of £6.023 million against a desirable £27.052 million.

5. Impact of Enhanced Funding on Highway Maintenance

5.1 If the extra level of funding is consistently applied in future years, targeted at those areas where the condition is poorest, it is anticipated that there will be a steady improvement in the structural state of roads and footways in Hampshire. The extra £3.5 million of County Council funding will enable additional works to be carried out, down from a HAMP level of 110 to a HAMP level of 95 in 2003/04. To achieve the LAA National Code of Practice intervention levels for highway maintenance (equivalent to a HAMP level of 50) would take several years. At this early stage it is not possible to predict exactly what the rate of improvement is going to be, or how many years it would take, but a period of 10 years would not be unreasonable. If investment at this level, over this sort of timescale is possible, this would enable a steady improvement in the BVPI results and, in the shorter term, improve chances of meeting the County Council's Public Service Agreement Target 12 for Highway Condition.

6. Consultation and Monitoring

6.1 Local County Council and District Council Members are presented with lists of proposed maintenance schemes each year, as part of the twice-yearly Highway Management Advisory Panel meetings. At those meetings Members will be able to give their views with regard to scheme priorities. Under a separate initiative, it is also proposed to enhance and formalise the relationship between Hampshire Highways staff and parish councils to provide a higher level of consultation and mutual understanding of highway maintenance needs and priorities.

6.2 Highway maintenance schemes will be monitored in the usual way throughout the year by the Highways Offices and interim progress reports will be provided to the Executive Member for Environment, the Cabinet and the Highway Management Advisory Panels as appropriate.

6.3 Although the MORI results clearly indicate a desire for improvement in the state of footways, there may be advantage in undertaking a further piece of focused consultation to ensure that the proposed priorities for the additional maintenance spend best reflect public views and to provide a baseline for comparing progress in future years. This can be considered later in the year.

6.4 A further report will be submitted in November 2003 detailing progress on the work done with the additional £3.5 million.

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