Road strategy making little progress

LITTLE progress has been made in reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads of Essex. That is one of the findings from a new report into highways and transportation in the county, which also revealed the conditions of roads has deteriorated and congestion problems have not been properly tackled.

LITTLE progress has been made in reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads of Essex.

That is one of the findings from a new report into highways and transportation in the county, which also revealed the conditions of roads has deteriorated and congestion problems have not been properly tackled.

And even with 12% of "principal" roads and half the footpaths in Essex in need of repair, conditions have continued to deteriorate.

With ever increasing pressure on the county's highways and 116 people dying in accidents last year alone the council admitted it still has a "lot of work" to do to bring down casualty rates.


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The Audit Commission report acknowledged prospects for improvement were "promising" because the council had recognised problems and shown "willingness to change".

The report rated the authority's past performance as "fair" with a one star service, out of a possible three for an excellent rating.

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Inspectors said: "Little progress has been made in reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured, towards the national safety target.

"Although principal road conditions were above average, delays to traffic, casualty levels and repairs to dangerous damage were below average performance levels."

But even with more money being put into solving the problems road safety is continuing to decline.

And despite transport being a key priority for the council, inspectors found road conditions have deteriorated and contractors employed were not providing good value for money.

The commission gave credit to the council for investing money into the area at a time when the finances were "under pressure" and added the next two to three years should improve congestion, road maintenance and safety.

Rodney Bass, of Essex County Council said the commission had recognised the steps towards improvements.

The cabinet member for transportation, said: "We have had mixed results on road safety. Campaigns aimed at reducing the number of children injured on our roads have had demonstrable results but we still have a lot of work to do on bringing about further reductions in adult casualties, particularly amongst motorcyclists.

"The revision of local service agreements with the district and borough council's, along with steps we have taken to get better value for money from our contractors, should make sure that this money is well spent and will help by providing a uniform standard of road maintenance across the county.

"Getting Essex moving has been a priority for this council and at a time of great pressures on budgets, we have increased our spending on highway maintenance. Over the next year the traffic control centre should start to produce a demonstrable improvement in congestion in Essex."

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