£82.5m: The bill to repair our roads ...

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IT would cost £82.5m to clear the roads maintenance backlog in Fife, according a road survey report.

But the Council’s roads officers admit the problem is only going to get worse, as spending isn’t keeping pace with the need to carry out repairs.

Senior manager Soma Raviraj said some road surfaces designed to last 30 to 40 years could be left for at least double that before being replaced.

Fife has actually moved up a league table ranking Scotland’s 32 local authorities on the condition of their roads, from 21st in 2009/11 to 16th by 2010/12.

But the climb up the table is due more to a slump in the performance of some other councils rather than any improvement in Fife.

Speaking at this week’s executive committee meeting, Mr Raviraj told councillors: “The backlog is going to continue to grow. The rate of investment is not going to catch up with the rate of deterioration.”

According to the Road Condition Index (RCI) there has been some modest improvements in Fife’s road network, and a 19-point action plan has been drawn up, which includes reviewing budget-setting procedures and ensuring accurate information on maintenance backlogs and road conditions is available.

But as Councillor David Dempsey, Conservative group leader, pointed out: “There’s nothing in this action plan about actually fixing roads. Surely that’s the action plan everyone wants?

“The public don’t give a hoot where we are in the league table. What we need to know is whether there is someone doing it better than us and can we learn from them? Where we are in the league table tells us nothing at all.”

An increase of £40m in the maintenance budget over 10 years from 2009/10 has helped produce a modest improvement to the RCI for all classes of roads in Fife.

A further £9m is being invested over the next five years in a bid to further tackle the problems of pot holes and rutted road surfaces, taking Fife’s annual spend on roads to around £8m.

Council leader Alex Rowley said: “Although the statistics tell us we’re doing better than previously, I have to say I have never seen some of the roads in Fife in the state they are just now.

“The focus has to be spending on the roads.”