Suffolk: Is county really streets ahead in roadworks league table?
06:00 01 May 2014
Figures suggesting that Suffolk is the roadworks capital of Britain have been disputed by the county council.
Insurance company LV= contacted all local authorities across the country to find out which had the most roadworks underway in March this year.
Not all responded, but of those which did Suffolk came top of the national league table with nearly 2,000 roadworks ongoing – streets ahead of its nearest rival Leicestershire.
Suffolk recorded 1,906 individual roadworks in the county. Leicestershire trailed in second with 1,250.
There are 4,334 miles of road in Suffolk – suggesting there could be one roadworks site just over every two miles.
However bosses at Endeavour House insisted the county’s high position in the league table owed more to its thoroughness in answering FoI requests than the standard of its roads.
Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for transport said: “Our response to the recent FOI included every highways related report that was on order at the time of request, however small.
“These reports cover a multitude of road related requests, including, broken kerbs, bent signs and street lighting repairs.
“We feel strongly that these figures are not indicative of the state of Suffolk’s roads. On the contrary, after Women’s Tour organisers scouted Suffolk’s roads for the up and coming cycling events, it was noted that these roads are some of the best they’d encountered.”
The weather had been a factor at the start of the year: “We’re now beginning to make good progress with pothole repairs since the extreme weather we faced during the winter period, and in the last month the number of outstanding orders has halved to just over 500.
“We’re also underway with an extensive programme of planned maintenance such as resurfacing and patching work, this is in addition to the extra work we’re able to carry out from the £2.9m allocated to us by central government.”
A total of 91 local authorities responded to the FoI request – however most of the large (geographically) county councils are absent from the top ten list which is dominated by urban councils like Brighton, Derby, Nottingham, Southwark and Rotherham which have comparatively low road mileages compared with large rural areas.
Peter Horton, Managing Director of LV= Road Rescue, said: “Local authorities face a difficult challenge to repair and maintain our roads this year, particularly given the impact of the adverse weather we have seen in recent months.
“With more cars on the road than ever, it will be hard to carry out roadworks without impacting drivers.”