Councillor hits back after Hampshire labelled as one of UK's 'roadwork capitals'

CLAIMS that Hampshire is one of the UK's 'roadwork capitals' have been rubbished by a senior councillor.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 11:27 am
Updated Monday, 29th November 2021, 12:08 pm

A recent study by Moneybarn revealed that areas most affected by roadworks over the past two years, judged by the number of works that took place.

Of 151 councils, Hampshire ranked eighth with 53,847 roadworks.

The top ranked council was Herefordshire, with 105,614 roadworks over the past two years.

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But Cllr Russell Oppenheimer, Hampshire County Council's executive member for highways operations, has hit back at the ‘roadwork capital’ label, saying it instead says more about the sheer size of the county.

He said: ‘Hampshire County Council is one of the largest “shire” authorities in England with responsibility for over 5,500 miles of road.

‘Keeping the condition of our roads to a good standard is important in enhancing the quality of life for those who live and work in or visit Hampshire - contributing to sustainable economic growth and social equality by enabling the safe, reliable and efficient movement of people, goods and services.

‘Road condition affects all users including cyclists, pedestrians and bus passengers as well as cars, motorcyclists and freight vehicles.

‘As we have previously highlighted, it is crucial that the importance of maintaining and repairing the local road network is properly recognised – especially when taking account of the fact that 90 per cent of journeys in Hampshire are made on this network.’

Through Operation Resilience - the county council's maintenance scheme - £10m is invested each year into road improvements.

Over the next three years, a further £7m will be spent on routine repairs.

Not all roadworks are for road repairs, as the county council also facilitates utility works, such as water, gas and broadband.

But Cllr Oppenheimer did concede that even with all these roadworks in the past two years, there is still plenty of work to be done.

He said: 'National funding from government for the repair and maintenance of local roads has fallen in real terms and much of the road network, particularly in rural areas, is already in a state of accelerating decline.'

The county council has called for residents to report potholes and other road problems directly, which can be done online at hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance.

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