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Councillors welcome report into roads asset investment scenarios and projected impacts

By bellmannews / December 15, 2021
road junction

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

Aberdeenshire councillors have welcomed the publication of a new report highlighting the region’s roads management assets and the cost of maintaining and improving that infrastructure over the next 20 years.

During a recent meeting of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, members were given a detailed account of the condition of the 3,500-mile roads network across the region.

The Status and Options Report summarises the status of the authority’s road assets in terms of size, value and condition and presents a number of investment scenarios for its major road assets.

Councillors were advised that the options presented and issues raised are in line with the nationally-agreed approach to roads asset management and are also designed to assist with the decisions that elected members require will be required to take in any annual budget-setting process.

While plans to include highways assets in the financial reporting requirements for local authorities having now been abandoned, council officers have continued to quantify their value. The £4,658,627,000 Depreciated Replacement Cost for the main asset groups have been calculated as follows:

•         Bridges and Structures – £579,000,000

•         Carriageways – £3,842,762,000

•         Footways – £173,316,000

•         Street Lighting – £62,955,000

•         Traffic Signals – £594,000

By comparison the total value of all other physical assets such as heritage assets, assets held for sale, investment properties, and property, plant and equipment excluding roads assets listed in the council’s unaudited accounts for 2020/21 was £2,023,709,000.

The combined budget needed for these asset groups to be maintained at their existing condition are as follows:

2022/23        2023/24        2024/25        Existing

Onwards           allocation

(£ p.a.)         (£ p.a.)         (£ p.a.)         (£ p.a.)

Bridges and Structures                7,950,000        7,950,000        7,950,000             5,660,000#

Carriageways                              18,600,000      18,600,000      18,600,000             11,750,000

Footways                                    1,770,000        1,770,000        1,770,000             474,000

Street lighting:

LED replacement              1,000,000        400,000           –                      600,000

Column replacement         –                       –                       1,100,000             576,000

Traffic signals                    275,000          275,000           275,000           –

Total                                          29,595,000      28,995,000      29,695,000             19,060,000

# Includes £3.3M from the Infrastructure Investment Fund 1

Committee was advised that while these figures highlighted significant funding gaps, it was anticipated that this will be reduced with allocations from the Infrastructure Investment Fund 2

(IIF2) for the Bridges and Structures, Carriageways and Footways asset groups.

Cllr Peter Argyle, chair of the Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “We all recognise the huge challenge again as with bridges around keeping our roads in good repair and we are all conscious of the impact which Covid has had on that with works having to stop for a period of time, the backlog which has built up and the challenges around the supply chain and availability of private contractors to undertake works on our behalf.

“It’s a very difficult environment at the moment but we, as a council, have taken the long-term view and invested an additional £5million into roads maintenance which will be hugely-beneficial and already we are starting to see things improve across our substantial network.”

Vice-chair Cllr John Cox added: “We all know that deterioration of our roads network is slow and often unseen, with the result that significant impacts on our investment cannot be assessed in the short-term. This report provides us with various investment scenarios and the projected impact across a 20-year period which will ultimately enable us to make key decisions with that understanding of the medium- and long-term implications.”