SIR, — I am writing in response to the letter headlined Highways robbery (Herts Advertiser, June 19) about the condition of Batchwood Drive, St Albans. I would like to emphasise that the surface dressing on Batchwood Drive is work in progress. The work
SIR, - I am writing in response to the letter headlined "Highways robbery" (Herts Advertiser, June 19) about the condition of Batchwood Drive, St Albans.
I would like to emphasise that the surface dressing on Batchwood Drive is work in progress. The work will be completed in the next week, with back sweeping - which clears any loose stones - being carried out and road markings reinstated. In the meantime, there will be loose debris on the road which is why there are signs in place advising drivers not to exceed 10mph.
While we appreciate that having to drive well below the normal speed limit can be frustrating for drivers, the signs are there for a reason - if the recommended speed limit is exceeded then there is the possibility that loose stones could cause damage to cars.
In the last six weeks alone, Herts Highways has carried out 750,000 square metres of surface dressing county-wide. We take the monitoring of this work very seriously and have dedicated officers regularly inspecting all these sites. The officer monitoring the work in St Albans carries out 20 to 30 site inspections a day.
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In regard to the complaint about roads where stones have come loose a year after work was completed, different repair methods are used for different roads, based on what the problem was with the road in the first place. There are some methods that, while being the most appropriate way to repair the road, can lead to debris appearing about a year after the work has been completed. This is why additional inspections are carried out a year after work has finished and any necessary remedial work is then scheduled.
It would be wonderful if we could afford more inspectors, just as it would be wonderful if we could afford to fix every pothole. Unfortunately, Government funding is set to remain low for the next three years.
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This is a problem for local authorities nationally, but I can assure residents that we are making sure that the money we have goes as far as possible, as well as topping up the funding from our own reserves - £20 million in the last two years.
On this note, I am very pleased to confirm that Herts County Council has recently given an additional £2 million to Herts Highways for extra projects around the county - this on top of our record total highways investment for 2008/09 of £89 million.
The money will be divided equally between the districts, so £200,000 will be invested in rectifying various niggling problems in the St Albans district. Details of the proposed schemes will be announced in July.
CLLR STUART PILE,
Executive Member for Highways, Transport and Rural Affairs, Herts County Council.