Russell calls on Council to use reserves for road “emergency”

Argyll & Bute MSP Michael Russell has suggested to Argyll & Bute Council that they dip into their reserves to establish a fund which can start to deal with the “emergency” of potholed roads and broken road surfaces which is damaging vehicles and has the potential to disrupt communities.

Mr Russell said:

“I have been pressing Transport Scotland and BEAR since the New Year to take forward a much increased programme of repair on the trunk roads in Argyll & Bute and I am glad to say that work has now started on the A83, the A82 and the A85. Transport Scotland did another inspection last week on the A83 and are insisting that BEAR accelerates their work and devotes more resources to it. I will continue to monitor that situation but I hope that the worst of the problems will be sorted within a few weeks.

Of course the bulk of the local roads are the Council’s responsibility and I have received many complaints about those roads as well. Some, like the main – and only – road on Jura are in such a dreadful state that is leading to concerns from hauliers about the safety of using them. Others – like the A886  and the A8003 which I use on a regular basis – have patches where the surface has broken up and many potholes.

Drivers avoiding these can cause traffic accidents and in addition essential workers, like carers, are having delays and disruptions to the vital work they do because of damage to their vehicles.

Local road users must report these problems  to the Council whenever they experience them because only when a pothole has been reported and not acted on can individuals claim compensation for damage.

But it would be better if the Council accepted that the current situation constitutes an emergency given the severe deterioration caused by adverse weather, first of all in terms of extreme wet weather in the summer and autumn and then very cold winter conditions. They could then meet that emergency by dipping into their reserves and establishing a fund to take forward urgent repairs across the area, starting with the worst affected routes like Jura but covering everywhere over the next few months.

The Council cannot simply  go on saying that its current budgets are constrained. They have reserves and the reality is that such reserves are, in part, about putting aside resources for times when special circumstances require special measures. This is one of those times and accordingly I have suggested to the Council that they set up a new fund, with monies from their reserves, immediately.

I will continue to monitor the local road situation closely and I would encourage people to report faults and damage quickly and regularly until they are fixed. Community Councils are also getting active in the matter and that is to be welcomed and I am sure Councillors want to see improvements made without any further delay.”

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