THE neglect of roads across Dumfries and Galloway over the years has resulted in a maintenance backlog which now totals more than £254 million.
Almost half of the entire public road network falls into either red or amber categories that should be considered for treatment.
And Dumfries and Galloway had the second highest percentage of crumbling roads in Scotland last year, according to a national road condition survey.
The urgency of fixing the region’s roads is underlined in a new report, which will be presented to councillors at Dumfries and Galloway Council’s communities committee next Tuesday.
The council has already signed off on a huge £30m capital roads investment over the next four years – but this will only scratch the surface of the repairs required.
The council report states: “There is a considerable length of the network that requires further work to bring it back into a good condition.
“The latest estimate (2023) of this maintenance backlog was in excess of £254m.”
The total length of public road maintained by Dumfries and Galloway Council is 4202km.
Then there is 1324km of footways, 1339 structures, 24,949 streetlights, and 82 signalised junctions.
With the entire carriageway alone valued at £3.8 billion, the roads of Dumfries and Galloway are described as the council’s “largest and most financially valuable physical asset.”
The condition of the roads has been a major issue for community groups and residents region-wide. This was underlined in a roads and transport survey carried out last year where 1549 people took part.
Of those who responded, 99.8 percent said that roads being in good condition was very or fairly important to them.
The quality of the local road carriageway network is highlighted each year through the annual Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey where vehicles with scanning equipment collect data by surveying the road network.
The council is then presented with findings via a Road Condition Index (RCI).
The council report states: “The 2022-23 RCI figure for our road network, the total of the red and amber category percentages of our road network added together, is 46.30 percent of carriageway that should be considered for treatment.
“It is noted that the RCI data for 2022-23 demonstrated that the roads in Dumfries and Galloway had the second highest percentage of roads in need of consideration for maintenance in Scotland.”
An additional £5.15m has been allocated to the council’s roads improvement fund for each of the next four years, commencing in 2024/25.
Councillors will next week decided on how the first £5.15m investment should be spent next year:
Option one: carriageways – an additional £3.937m, footways – an additional £120,000, street lighting – an extra £170,000, traffic signals – an additional £423,000, and bridges and structures – an additional £500,000.
Option two: carriageways – an additional £4.437m, footways – an additional £120,000, street lighting – an extra £170,000, traffic signals – an additional £173,000, and bridges and structures – an additional £250,000.