Ayrshire Roads Alliance sets out investment in our roads

East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet has agreed the Ayrshire Roads Alliance’s programme of investment works that will allow improvement works to be carried out to carriageways, footways and street lighting, in addition to bridge strengthening and investment in transportation, road safety and fleet vehicles.

Back in February, Cabinet approved the Roads and Transportation Capital Investment Programme as part of the Council's investment priorities over the next ten years. Once this funding was approved, the Ayrshire Roads Alliance was in a position to review and re-prioritise programmes of work and present updated programmes for consideration. An extensive consultation also took place last autumn with elected members, Community Councils and Community Action Plan Steering Groups, who were each asked to suggest improvement schemes that could be considered for inclusion this year.

For 2023/24 the overall roads budget will increase from £10.738m to £14.440m due to the budget being re-profiled. This multi-million pound investment will see £3.240m being allocated for carriageway structural maintenance; £0.25m each for footway structural maintenance and street lighting improvement schemes; £4.1m for bridge and culvert strengthening; £2.666m for New Cumnock Flood Scheme and £2.719m for Kilmarnock car parks. There was also an additional £400,000 allocated from Repairs and Renewals at Council two weeks ago for pavements and roads.

As a result of targeted expenditure across the network, figures show a continued improvement since 2015 in the percentage of the road network which requires maintenance treatment. However this is predicted to deteriorate over future years without increased investment and as this happens, more expensive treatments become necessary. This then impacts on a static budget as inflationary pressures increase the treatment costs and results in less of the network being resurfaced.

The Council will manage this risk by implementing a robust carriageway inspection regime; ensuring that potholes are repaired as quickly as possible; implementing a programme of structural patching in addition to the carriageway resurfacing and surface dressing programmes; and considering the use of alternative materials to undertake carriageway repairs.

Traffic, Transportation and Road Safety improvement programmes will be delivered in partnership with Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT), Transport Scotland and SUSTRANS, with a focus on improving road safety, enhancing the transport network and promoting accessible travel choices. This will include expanding the School Streets programme which is now being trialled at Netherthird Primary after the successful pilots at Catrine Primary and St Sophia’s Primary; completing the final phase of the Kilmarnock Bus Station refurbishment programme; progressing the Hurlford Street Design Project which aims to enable more people to cycle and walk for everyday journeys; and the continuation of Kilmarnock Active Travel Hub.

Transport Scotland has published a new Road Safety Framework which sets out a long-term goal for road safety where there are no fatalities or no one is seriously injured by 2050. The Ayrshire Roads Alliance has reviewed the new framework and adapted its traffic management, engineering and road safety education activities to align with the objectives and outcomes in the new framework.

Large-scale projects will also continue over the next year, including the New Cumnock flood scheme and the repurposing of the multi-storey car park site in Kilmarnock into an EV charging and cycling hub with multi-purpose civic space.

Councillor Neal Ingram, Cabinet Spokesperson for Roads, said: “The roads infrastructure is one of the Council’s most valuable assets and it is vital to the economic wellbeing and development of East Ayrshire, contributing significantly to the local economy and regeneration.

“By re-profiling current available budgets, we have been able to sustain the significant increased and necessary investment in our infrastructure. This increased funding will ensure that we have a strong focus on addressing the quality of the infrastructure asset and that we are responding to the needs of our communities.”