Council to discuss road closure frustrations after report labels communication 'inadequate'

Councillors will discuss the way road closures and diversions are handled in the county, after a report which says some communication has "been inadequate" and "led to avoidable issues".

Motorists are seeing more roads being closed as Shropshire Council works to fix potholes around the county
Motorists are seeing more roads being closed as Shropshire Council works to fix potholes around the county

It comes following an increase in complaints over the past year.

Shropshire Council's place overview committee will consider the matter tomorrow, with the authority's officers saying they have "identified ways in which road closure signing could be improved".

The issue of road closures and diversions has come into greater focus with the council seeking to tackle significant numbers of potholes and other problems on the county's roads.

It means more roadworks taking place and more road closures – something the council says has contributed to complaints from frustrated motorists.

The authority has said that it has faced a trio of issues leading to complaints about roads being shut, including severe weather, varying yearly budgets making it harder to plan and make people aware in advance, and the deteriorating condition of the road network leading to more work taking place.

The state of the county's roads was seen as a key battleground in this year's local elections – which saw the Conservatives' majority on Shropshire Council significantly dented.

Since the election the new Tory administration has said fixing Shropshire's highways is a priority, and has agreed to ask officers to look at ways of investing between £60m and £120m in improvements.

The place overview committee is set to discuss the funding plans, with a report from Andy Wilde, Head of Highways, suggesting it would allow for increased planning – making it easier to tell the public about works in advance.

His report also says that the budget would mean more 'preventative' work can be carried out, reducing the amount of repairs needed after the road is damaged.

It also explains the increase in the number of repairs and road closures required, stating: "The continuing deterioration of the road network has increased the number of reactive works that have taken place. Whilst increasing the number of these that are addressed using permanent repairs is an overall positive step over the longer term this significantly increased the number of short notice road closures at a time when the delivery of resurfacing schemes was also taking place which further exacerbated the situation.

"Were the council to choose to invest additional budget over a period of years it would enable the ability for more proactive forward planning of resources and activity to ensure improved engagement. It would also allow for preventative maintenance to be undertaken which would reduce the number of reactive works required.

"The service has identified ways in which road closure signing could be improved. This would involve identifying the specific location of the closure point. This would enable driver to make better decisions and prevent drivers ‘chancing it’ and arriving at the closure point, at which point are then forced to take less suitable roads at the last minute."

Last month the council confirmed 6,800 potholes have been repaired since the start of May.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways said there was a focus on tackling the issue.

He said: “I know there are a lot of potholes and other defects in need of attention, right across the county, but we’re working hard to tackle them and to make the county’s roads safer for all road users, as these figures show.

“We’re increasing the numbers of crews tackling the problem, and using new technology and new ways of working. And every day we have teams out across the county carrying out repairs to our roads – repairs that will last.

“There are still many more potholes to treat, but repairing nearly 7,000 in less than three months is a notable achievement, and evidence of the work that we are carrying out to improve the county’s roads.”

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News