North Yorkshire County Council has achieved a record amount of highways preventative maintenance this summer under a major investment programme that feeds into the county's work to achieve Band 3 status next year.
The county secured an extra £44m to be spent between 2014-21 to bring more of the road network up to scratch, particularly across rural areas. Of the £44m cash pot, £20m comes from the council's own money.
The programme also secured £24m from a successful joint capital bid with East Riding of Yorkshire Council to the local growth fund, which linked the maintenance of the rural road network with economic growth.
A spokeswoman for the council revealed to Transport Network how they went about this.
'We established an evidence base on the link between highway maintenance and the economy using the available research from reports published by YouGov on behalf of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, by the RAC Foundation, by ADEPT, by the Audit Commission and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Highway Maintenance.
'A key part of our evidence base was the output from the YouGov report, which estimated that, on average, small to medium enteprise (SME) businesses affected by poor road condition lose over £8,000 a year on vehicle damage and increased fuel costs. A third of businesses also lose about £15,000 each per year because the condition of local roads reduces their competitiveness.
'We related this back to North Yorkshire given the significant proportion of SMEs that make up the local economy and also linked the bid to the growth towns identified in the local enterprise partnership's strategic economic plan.'
As a result of the extra cash around 400 miles of the county’s 5,000-mile road network was surface dressed from April to August this year, more than has ever done before, in partnership with contractor Ringway. Transport Network understands that around 250 miles might normally be treated.
The cost-effective maintenance technique involves spraying hot bitumen onto the road surface then rolling chippings onto it.
Cllr Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire's executive member for highways, added:‘Our additional funding for roads is about vital support for economic growth, supporting business and keeping communities and the economy on the move.
‘Surface dressing also helps to keep roads safe, improving skid resistance. In more urban, densely populated areas and on estate roads we are also now using a system called lock-chip, which binds the chippings to improve safety.'
The move follows North Yorkshire securing a 'strong' Band 2 in the highways self-assessment process last year, which determines a share of top-sliced highways capital maintenance cash for local authorities.
The council subsequently developed an action plan to achieve top Band 3 status and win more cash.
A spokeswoman explained:'The Highways Maintenance Efficiency Progamme (HMEP) approach has helped guide our improvement activities and we have also carried out an HMEP/Local Government Association Strategic Review which has helped further refine our work. Delivery of these actions and the improvements we have made to our development and delivery of the capital maintenance programme, mean that we are confident of achieving Band 3 status later this year.
'To achieve the full benefits of the extra funding from the Local Growth Fund bid requires us to maintain our full allocation of highway funding through achieving band 3 status.'
This year the county council has spent an estimated £12.7m on surface dressing, around £650,000 more than last year resulting in 5% more miles surfaced than in 2015.
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