Investment in Glasgow's roads 'falls short' by £11m, report finds

Almost £31m per year would be required to maintain a 'steady state', a road infrastructure condition report has revealed.

Investment in Glasgow’s roads ‘falls short’ by £11m, report finds iStock

Investment in Glasgow’s roads “falls short” of the amount needed to keep them in their current condition by over £11m.

Almost £31m per year would be required to maintain a “steady state”, a road infrastructure condition report has revealed, but currently £19.7m is spent.

Public satisfaction with roads maintenance has dropped to its lowest level since 2011 (17%) while, according to the latest data, potholes reports were over 20,000.

Without extra funding for new street lights, the “risk of injury” to the public from collapse or exposure to electrical wiring is increased.

A council spokesman said staff “maximise” resources to maintain the road network to “the highest possible standard”, prioritising the “most serious issues”. He added the report is intended to inform councillors before the council’s budget meeting in February.

The annual report found: 

  • 71.7% of carriageways are in an acceptable condition
  • Around 41% of the city’s 74,000 street lighting columns are beyond their expected service life
  • Approximately 54% of Glasgow’s over 900 traffic signals need replaced

Road infrastructure covers carriageways, footpaths, cycle lanes, traffic signals, lighting, street furniture, the Clyde Tunnel and structures such as bridges.

Officials recommend an annual investment of £13.95m in carriageways over five years, up from £10.9m. Spending £12.85m would maintain a “steady state”.

Following the recommendation would “lead to the Glasgow road network being in the best condition in over a decade”, they said.

Currently, shorter-term “preventative treatments” are taken to “extend the life of the surface”, but “do not address any underlying structural issues”.

Officials have said the “deteriorating condition” of street lighting “poses an increasing risk” to the public. Extra inspections are being carried out to remove columns in “the poorest condition”.

They added investment is “still below the £5.95m steady state figure required to maintain the infrastructure in its current condition”.

Under the current investment level (£2.5m), columns will “continue to deteriorate and the risk of injury by column collapse or exposure to electrical wiring will increase”. Over £6.5m is needed per year over 15 years is needed to replace up to 30,800 “at-risk” columns and cabling.

The annual report also recommends an investment of £27.5m over five years to replace “all ageing” traffic signals and “provide modern low energy LED lights along with fully compliant tactile paving and indicators”.

Data revealed over 81% of footways are in “good or fair condition” while 2.9% show “major or structural deterioration” and 15.9% have “minor deterioration such as cracking”. It showed 94% of the “primary cycle network” is in good or fair condition.

“The condition of footways is the most significant factor in the number of public injury claims and 2022/23 saw the first increase in the number of footway claims settled since 2017,” the report added.

“An annual investment of £3.8m per annum for five years would remove all footways exhibiting major defects and structural deterioration.”

The Clyde Tunnel requires “significant investment to address necessary repairs to operational infrastructure and structural issues”.

“The top priorities are a number of improvements of the cycle and pedestrian tunnels to provide a safe active travel route, the repair of the ventilation system and a power system upgrade,” officials said.

The top maintenance priority to ensure structures remain safe is the strengthening of the Shieldhall Overpass, with £4.5m of funding secured for the financial year 2024/25.

The council spokesman said: “This annual report provides detailed information on the current condition of all assets included in Glasgow’s road network and sets out possible scenarios for future investment.

“The intention of the report is to inform debate among elected members when considering the options for the council’s annual budget.

“The council is fortunate to have a team of skilled and experienced roads engineers who always seek to maximise all available resources so the network can be maintained to the highest possible standard.

“To ensure the safety of all road users, we take a risk-assessed approach to maintaining the roads network so the most serious issues are always treated as a matter of priority.”

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