Action call over road reinstatements

COUNTY council chiefs have called for talks with utility companies over the standard of road reinstatements in the region.

COUNTY council chiefs have called for talks with utility companies over the standard of road reinstatements in the region.

Thirty-nine per cent of work on the county’s highway network last year was deemed sub-standard, it was revealed this week.

Devon County Council (DCC) estimates that poor workmanship is costing tax-payers around �1.7million in additional maintenance.

In 2010, utility companies carried out more than 20,500 schemes on the county’s roads and even good quality reinstatements can reduce the longevity of the life of roads by around 17per cent, says the authority.

Councillor Gordon Hook, chairman of DCC’s environment, economy and culture scrutiny committee, said: “We still have lots of work to do to help ensure that road reinstatements by utility companies are up to scratch. If the workmanship is poor, these private companies are basically leaving it to the tax payer to pick up the tab. At a time when budgets are under severe pressure, that is simply unacceptable. Devon County Council is continuing to support the companies wherever it can, but enforcement action must be taken whenever it is considered necessary to ensure our roads are maintained as well as possible.”

Sidmouth county councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC cabinet member for highways and transportation, added: “This is a very real and very serious problem and it is not a problem that can be resolved without active, open and measurable input from the utility companies.

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“DCC must continue to be a lead player in influencing an improvement in national standards and performance monitoring through core analysis which is an important part of this, however pressure must also be applied on the utility companies who are responsible for their works from start to finish.”