Scottish Government guidance due to the pandemic meant that during 2020 very little work was undertaken on the 3,500-mile road network except for safety-critical issues.
Funding of £2.5 nillion was committed in March to help tackle the backlog, and councillors agreed at their recent full council meeting to invest a further £3 million to allow further maintenance work to be carried out.
Councillor Peter Argyle, depute leader and chair of the infrastructure committee, commended the work of the roads service in very challenging circumstances
He said: “The service has worked exceptionally hard throughout the pandemic. There has been a huge amount of catch-up as a result of the pandemic on top of an unusually hard winter and actually indicates that going through a six-month delay on road repairs is not the course of action any of us would wish to see.
“Of course, like many other council services, we’ve experienced real challenges with the supply chain, recruitment – typically for lorry drivers – and there is very significant inflation in the construction sector and huge demand on public sector contracts. All of this makes life as difficult for us as a council as it is for the private sector.
“Some tenders have come back way over expectation, but equally many others have come back perfectly acceptable and have been taken ahead. We now have an agreed programme of works in place which will be carefully assessed and planned to make the most effective use of this additional investment.
"In some cases this will be a localised repair to the defect, such as a pothole, while in other instances where the overall road is in a poor condition, the repair may take the form of a more widespread surface dressing, or indeed resurfacing operation. Using this tailored approach ensures that the repairs undertaken achieve the best balance between cost and benefit.”
Head of Roads Philip McKay echoed his thanks to his dedicated workforce as it continues to battle through the backlog of maintenance and repairs to ensure the road network is safe for motorists.
He said: “We know this is having a very positive impact, and motorists will have seen a massive increase in our roads operations across Aberdeenshire in recent months.
"We apologise in advance for any inconvenience during our works and road users are asked to be patient and follow site signing including temporary speed limits.
“Thanks to the additional financial resources agreed at Full Council last week, we are now in position to tender for a further £3 million worth of contracts which will help us to make significant inroads into the backlog of repairs.”
Work being carried out on roads in Aberdeenshire will include a programme of ‘retexturing works’ throughout October and November.
These works should greatly improve texture and skid resistance at some key locations on the network. Also during the winter months, a programme of drainage repairs and improvement will be undertaken.
The annual surface dressing programme has now been completed and preparatory work is underway for next season’s programme. Work to strengthen roads widely used by the forestry industry for timber transport – which is partly funded by the Scottish Government – is also being carried out.