County’s Asset Maintenance Plan could see lower priority roads wait 90 days for repairs

Fixes to the county’s lowest priority roads could take up to 90 days following the latest changes to council policy.

Tweaks to Lincolnshire County Council’s Asset Maintenance Plan, will see the authority’s current five level classification system split even further to nine levels, including a Major Road Networks, and then Hierarchy 1-8.

Each level’s response times to fix issues will then be allocated to within 24-hours, seven days, 28 days and 90 days — with problems being analysed through a ‘risk-based approach’.

Councillors on the Highways and Transport Scrutiny Committee were told on Monday that the changes would make the council more efficient, by allowing them to prioritise the most important fixes, or by creating ‘schemes’ to fix multiple lower priority roads.

This would enable them to carry out ‘first-time’ fixes by spending more time on higher priority roads, they were told.

Councillor Richard Davies, the authority’s executive councillor for Highways, said following the meeting: “Candidly, we weren’t always hitting our targets for those roads anyway so it makes sense to be honest with the public about what we can do and how we can do it.

“We have a £3/400 million backlog on the roads to bring them up to national standard and a limited budget and the reality is — and the people of Lincolnshire understand this because they’re not fools – that with a limited budget there’s only a limited amount you can do and its about having a clear and concise transparent conversation with people.”

Officers told members of the scrutiny committee that the reclassification could result in more funding for those classed as ‘Major Road Network’.

Council officer Vincent Van Doninck said the current set 28-day response time was ‘not a real estimate time’ to be setting ‘nor is it a sensible use of our resources’.

Councillors were reassured however, that issues could be ‘escalated’ or ‘de-escalated’ if enough evidence was provided to do so.

Committee chairman Councillor Mike Brookes said the committee was reassured that incidents can be escalated.

“The risk-based approach and first-time fix is going to help because if we fix things the first time we go, yes it will take more time in the first place and we’re going to have to give it a bit more resource, the repairs will last a lot longer,” he said.

“We won’t be going back, revisiting repairs we’ve already done.”

Daniel Jaines , Local Democracy Reporting Service

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