A five-year plan for managing Kent’s £24 billion worth of roads, paths, bridges, drains and lights has been published by Kent County Council.
The new Highways Asset Management Plan aims to bring together the entirety of KCC’s highways assets to provide a safer, more sustainable, and more resilient highway network in the future.
- how asset management contributes to achieving strategic outcomes, including environmental, active travel and road safety priorities
- how assets are managed and how decisions are made based on risk
- what is known about current and predicted asset condition
- sets out service levels alongside an assessment of associated risks
- outlines significant improvements and achievements
- includes a five-year forward works programme
- an action plan to further improve approach to asset management, contributing to achieving environmental, active travel and road safety objectives.
The document aims to move towards treating the management and maintenance of highway assets as a multi-year endeavour, rather than an annual one, highlighting the importance of consistency of funding and approach over that longer period, to enable KCC to deliver a more efficient service with better condition outcomes.
KCC is in an increasingly challenging environment, with deteriorating assets, increasing traffic volumes, uncertainty around future funding and, more recently, facing the impacts of the global pandemic.
The Highways Asset Management Plan aims to identify a clear investment strategy and associated action plan for the future that recognises the challenges and opportunities ahead.
The document not only details how KCC will care for its most valuable asset, but is an investment strategy and action plan for the next five years.
KCC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport David Brazier said: “Our new plan for the next five years will deliver a more efficient highway maintenance service with better outcomes, and enable us to deliver a safer, more sustainable and more resilient highway network.
“Deterioration of our highway assets has far exceeded the rate of investment from central government and, whilst that is a national issue affecting most local authorities, arguably it affects our county disproportionately.
“We have one of the largest networks including a high proportion of classified or urban roads, difficult geology, a large population, and high volumes of heavy goods vehicles and other traffic because of our proximity to London and our position as the gateway to Europe. Our road maintenance backlog alone is £464 million.
“We have, however, made significant advances in our management and delivery of highway maintenance in recent years and have been able to make better-informed decisions around service levels, priorities, risks, and our future approach, so that resource is allocated appropriately.
“It has also meant that we can evidence the need for additional Department for Transport funding.”