Tens of planned roadwork schemes deferred as craterous Queensway is finally repaired

Herts roadworks
Herts roadworks

More than 30 resurfacing and footway works in the Dacorum area have been deferred under cost-saving plans by Herts County Council.

Including those within the borough, a total of 142 highways repairs totalling £3million have been cancelled throughout the county after it was revealed the authority was on course to overspend on its budget.

The news comes shortly after the long-awaited resurfacing of Hemel Hempstead’s Queensway was finally completed.

Liberal Democrat county councillor for the town’s St Paul’s division Ron Tindall said: “I am disgusted. Only two weeks ago all councillors were sent an email saying 85% of planned works will be delivered at the end of October – clearly that was not true.

“Considering this chaotic state of affairs, it is amazing we got Queensway resurfaced, albeit after a false start.”

According to the council, additional pressures have meant that more money has had to be spent in some areas than originally planned.

These reportedly include additional costs from last year as a result of the severe weather experienced during the winter months.

A mid-year review of the budget highlighted the additional spend and has forced the push-back of schemes planned for this year into 2015.

Council cabinet member for highways Terry Douris said: “The severe weather we’ve experienced during the last few winters has really taken its toll on Hertfordshire’s roads.

“While we were successful in bidding for additional government funding last year, and the county council itself invested extra money, it’s still not enough to cover the remaining schemes that we had planned to deliver this year.

“As a result we’ve reached a point where we have had to suspend the majority of the remaining maintenance schemes on the 2014/15 programme in order to avoid a significant overspend on the budget.

“The deferred schemes have been added to next year’s work programme, however, we are looking to see if there is any possibility of delivering any of the remaining schemes this year.”

Of the 142 schemes affected, 104 are mico-resurfacing for roads, four are for resurfacing of footways and a further 34 are major road rebuilding schemes.

Queensway has now been repaired in three sections, including the infamous crater-filled junction with Great Road. The work was stalled last month when the expected programme was pushed back in favour of a bus shelter upgrade scheme.

Earlier in the year, Herts County Council revealed it had been successful in its bid for a share of a £168million national pothole repair fund offered by central government.

However, the auhtority admitted the £2.2million cash injection would only go some way to rectifying the estimated £8.5million of damage to roads and bridges across the county caused by bad weather over the last winter.