Major review of highways maintenance in Suffolk launched

Published

A major review of the way highways in Suffolk are maintained has been launched.

Councillor Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, today announced the review into how Suffolk’s limited highways budget can be used to best effect when maintaining the county’s roads, pavements, bridges, grass verges, and other highways assets.

Areas to be reviewed include:

  • Existing policy which determines how resources are deployed, known as the Suffolk Highway Maintenance Operational Plan (HMOP)
  • How utility companies coordinate roadworks and are held to account for their actions
  • How residents, councillors and businesses are informed about road repairs and how they can access information
  • The approach to, and importance of, innovation within Suffolk Highways
  • Financial control and contract management
  • How the location of potholes on the road is considered alongside the width and depth, recognising the impact they can have on cyclists and motorcyclists
  • How town and parish councils can work closer with Suffolk Highways to make the best use of their local knowledge, skills, money and time.

Launching the review, Councillor Evans said:

“No matter who you are or what you do, if you live, visit or work in Suffolk you will at some point need to use our roads. It’s one of the truly universal services the county council provides.

“It will therefore come as no surprise that highways is one of the hottest topics in Suffolk.

“For that very reason, it’s essential that we make sure they are maintained to the best standard possible. I know there is not enough money to do everything we want to do as quickly as we wish. But that means we must challenge ourselves even harder to find new and innovative ways of working and sources of funding.”

Suffolk Highways has repaired over 12,000 potholes in over 6,500 locations since January, which is double the number repaired in the same period last year. It is on track to surface dress 1,000 miles of road by 2021 using £21 million of additional money agreed earlier this year.

Councillor Evans, who previously chaired the county council's Scrutiny Committee, added:

“It’s the right time for a fundamental review of the way we work. There is a lot of good practice that goes unnoticed or unrecognised. But I believe - and so does the public - that there are improvements that can and must be made.

“That’s why a review is needed. What’s working well will be continued, and what’s not will be improved or, if needs be, ripped up and started again.”

The views of local businesses, town, parish, district and borough councils and the public will be taken into account as part of the review. With immediate effect, a new Highways Improvement and Innovations Board has been established to oversee the areas that will make up the review.