West Sussex country roads to get £30m boost

editorial image

A £30M cash injection will improve country roads in West Sussex, as part of a maintenance plan for the county’s road network.

West Sussex County Council cabinet member for roads and transport, Pieter Montyn, said the plans included investment in unclassified roads ‘in the region of £30m’.

The investment will figure in the county’s budget when it goes in front of the full council meeting in February.

The money will primarily pay for improvements to the county’s network of unclassified roads. These make up 55 per cent of the entire road network in the county, and include both residential and rural roads.

Cllr Montyn, said: “I am delighted to be able to confirm that we plan to spend in the region of £30m over the next two years as part of the Better Roads Programme.

“I did promise we would be spending a significant sum, and I can now confirm the sort of expenditure we are working towards as we finalise our budget proposals.

“This is a really sound use of capital financing because there will be benefits not just in terms of improved roads, but also this investment will help reduce our maintenance costs.”

In November, Pieter announced an investigation had been taking place into long-term plans for managing the highways network, in response to the many residents who expressed concern about the deterioration of some of roads.

He said: “By putting in place a long-term asset management plan that makes our roads more resilient, we can prevent damage, provide greater value for the taxpayer and make managing problems caused by extreme weather easier.

“If we make the extra capital investment now in upgrading road surfaces, it will reduce annual maintenance costs, and prevent deterioration.”

The council said the past three years had seen some of the worst weather conditions in living memory.

Record levels of rainfall, along with flooding, freezing temperatures and snow, caused significant deterioration to the county’s road network.

While the county’s A and B roads, and minor C roads, continued to be maintained, the network of unclassified roads, which includes residential and rural roads, had slipped.

In 2009/10 only 12 per cent of unclassified roads across West Sussex were considered in need of repair.

In 2012/13 that figure had increased to 22 per cent.

Cllr Montyn said: “West Sussex needs reliable and safe transport links to help connect people to jobs and businesses.

“Our rural and smaller urban roads have to be up to the job.

“Better roads do not cost as much to maintain and significantly reduce the outbreak of potholes after spells of poor weather.”