The Borders has 3000km of roads, the fourth largest network in Scotland, and the council is looking at their long term maintenance.
To complete the backlog of work required to bring the region’s roads up to an acceptable level would cost £65 million; to resurface all the roads in need of either immediate repair or with defects requiring work, would cost £23 million; and just to maintain the road network at its current level - defects and all - is costing £4.3 million a year.
Five options have been drawn up to tackle road repairs in the region and SBC will decide whether to: invest in the short or medium term; continue at the current rate of repair; or maintain the amount of the council’s budget set aside for road repairs which will result in the condition of more of the roads network deteriorating.
The most efficient option over a 20 year period would be medium term investment: increasing the budget by £750,000 in years 3, 8 and 12 at a cost of £96 million. Over the same period it would cost £135 million to maintain the current condition of the road network.
Berwickshire has the biggest network of roads in the Borders, 30% of the entire network) and at the Berwickshire Area Forum meeting last week, SBC’s roads manager Colin Ovens, explained the options being looked at - the emphasis being the right repair, in the right place at the right time - and the proposed spending on Berwickshire’s roads in the coming year.
Spending in the current financial year on Berwickshire roads includes: £646,900 of their capital funding on carriageway surfacing, surface dressing and patching; £118,715 of revenue budget on carriageway patching, drainage works and footpaths; £65,000 of revenue budget on five Berwickshire bridges; £35,000 on street lights in Greenlaw.
Explaining that while Berwickshire has a similar mileage of roads to East Lothian the level of funding is quite different, Councillor Michael Cook said: “ The amount East Lothian spends on their roads is something we can’t get close to.”