Council bosses insist Glasgow’s roads are “fit for purpose” after a report revealed an extra £20m is needed to “marginally” improve their condition.
The review, by the city’s roads team, found the condition would worsen under the current £10.86m investment, but confirmed the roads would be “safe and serviceable”.
It added £30.4m would allow roads to stay at existing levels “as a minimum” but with “the ability to marginally improve”.
Labour councillor Jim Kavanagh said the £30m estimate showed how far the standard of roads in the city had fallen, adding the money was needed just to “stand still”.
A council officer said the extra £20m was “only an indicative idea of potentially how much we need”.
They added: “The same as every department across the council, if more money was given to us, I would find locations to spend it.
“But I’m not stating that we need millions more right now, because the condition of our road network at this moment in time is fit for purpose.”
In the report, there is a gold, silver and bronze level of service.
It reveals Glasgow is currently at bronze, which allows for a “marginal reduction in condition” in a “managed way” while “still meeting our statutory duties”.
The silver standard, which would require the £30.4m, is described as a “good” network, which enables the condition to be kept at “existing levels”, with an ability to “marginally improve” over the period of investment.
The council officer, speaking at an environment, sustainability and carbon reduction committee meeting, said there had been a “very slight fall in the acceptable condition of roads within Glasgow”, down around 0.5% since last year.
But he added the council “still far exceeds the average in Scotland” and is “still one of the best performing councils” in the country. He said the drop was related to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Labour councillor Jill Brown said there is “clearly an underfunding issue” and asked whether the report was intended as a bid to the Scottish Government to “look for appropriate funding”.
Conservative councillor Kyle Thornton noted a decline in customer satisfaction, and suggested this was due to how the council prioritised roadworks.
He said: “There are road defects being reported, people are seeing more of them, they’re just not all of the standard where the council has the available money to go out and fix that.”
The council officer said his comments on customers reporting defects were “not the truth”.
He said: “As part of our risk-based approach to safety inspections, our technically qualified staff will go to every notification of a defect on our roads, footways, structures, and they will assess that defect.
“If they determine that defect does not meet the criteria for repair at that moment in time, it will not be repaired. If it does meet the criteria, it is then prioritised to determine what timescale that repair would be undertaken.
“I think the issue with some of our customers is that they may report something, a cracked flag outside their property, which may not aesthetically look pleasing but from a safety point of view, it’s fine and it passes.”
On footways, the officer said there had been a “slight reduction” in condition but just over 81% are in a “good or fair condition” and only 3% have “major or structural deterioration”.
He said cycleways are in a “very good” state, but around 38% of Glasgow’s street lighting columns have been “identified as being beyond their extended service life”.
He added: “It doesn’t mean that they are at a point of failure, it just means the extended service life of them has been met.”
He said the team working on structures, such as bridges, had recommended a “lengthy” investment period, which should be considered during budget processes.
And he said investigating funding sources for the Clyde Tunnel was “very high on the agenda at this period of time”.
In response to a question from cllr Thornton, the officer said: “It is not in any foreseeable or immediate danger of being closed, it’s the same as any other asset that we have.
“We may have a few issues that may occur within the tunnel, but the professional and technical staff we have on site or specifically there on site [deal] with any issues that may come up.”
SNP councillor Angus Millar, who chaired the committee, said: “The picture is broadly similar every year and obviously different political groups will have discussions to have as part of the budget process in the council, in terms of how we respond to this.
“What we have at the moment in terms of investment is a managed position, we are clearly performing in the upper quartile in Scotland in terms of road condition at the moment, but we need to keep a close eye on this.
“These are challenges that all local authorities across the UK and Scotland are dealing with.”
By local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands