Skip to main content

Highways improvements discussed

04 July 2023

Today (Tuesday, 4 July), the Highways and Transport Committee heard the latest update on highways and delivering improvements across Cambridgeshire. 

At Full Council in May, it was agreed a full scrutiny of the plan for improvements should be brought to the Highways and Transport Committee in July. It confirmed Highways Maintenance is a top priority of the council. 

Today, members heard the challenges facing Cambridgeshire roads, like extreme weather conditions, ongoing financial pressures at a local and national level and inflation. The committee was told how Cambridgeshire is leading a consortium of authorities in the pursuit of additional support and funding to address the impact of climate change on our roads.

Many of the roads on peat soils would require major reconstruction which is likely to be a significant cost to the council and may only last up to five years. The council is looking at innovative solutions and preparing for what we can do in the meantime, whilst making sure the roads are safe for the public.

However, members were also told about the progress made in delivering highway service improvements – doubling the crews on the ground dealing with potholes, the new proactive approach where the council is ‘finding, recording and fixing’ minor surface issues before they develop into potholes, the use of artificial intelligence technology being used to survey the condition of roads and identify issues before they develop. Finally, drainage maintenance where 54 schemes have been delivered. These improvements are all being included with a transformation programme that has been initiated by Executive Director of Place and Sustainability, Frank Jordan. This will build on the improvements to date but focus on improving customer experience, service excellence, value for money and developing the culture and workforce. 

Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, said: “Maintaining our roads is a constant challenge, but we haven’t let up on the fight against potholes and improving the condition of our roads, pavements and cycleways. We heard today all the good work which is continuing around our county and demonstrates how we’re committed to tackling and reversing years of decline. “We’re investing more money, finding more resources and exploring new ways of working to battle the issues as quickly as possible. 

“I’d like to thank the public for their patience and urge people to continue reporting any potholes or highway faults using our online tool. It's easy to use and flags any faults which have not yet been marked. We would rather have multiple reports of the same fault, than none at all -” 

The council recently welcomed news of an additional £3.6m to repair potholes on its roads, on top of £8.3m already expected and planned for but warned that it won’t be enough to keep pace with either inflation, or decades of highway decline.