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New report from Department for Transport shows roads in Hertfordshire are better than the national norm

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Hertfordshire County Council is driving home the message from a new report which rates its roads as better than average – despite coronavirus disrupting its repair programme.

The data from the Department for Transport (DfT) concerning the condition of highways across England for the years ending March 2020 and March 2021 indicates the county compares well.

The DfT statistics classify roads into three categories: green (good condition), amber (work may be needed) and red (roads that should be considered for maintenance). It then considers the class of road: A, B, C and unclassified.

Herts County Council road repairs (53541280)
Herts County Council road repairs (53541280)

The data show the roads that "should be considered for maintenance", so the lower the percentage the better.

In 2020 and 2021, the proportion of roads in England classified as red was 4% of A roads, 6% of B and C roads and 17% of unclassified roads. In Hertfordshire, 3% of A roads, 6% of B and C roads and 12% of unclassified roads were red.

The council claims the results are down to its proactive approach to planning repairs and the investment made through its 'invest 2 improve' (i2i) programme.

Cllr Phil Bibby, the county council's executive member for highways and transport
Cllr Phil Bibby, the county council's executive member for highways and transport

The i2i five-year plan, with the final year of investment taking place in 2022-23, has seen additional funding dedicated to local roads, with £29m committed to improve the unclassified network alone.

Those primarily residential roads and country lanes account for 63% of all Hertfordshire routes. At the start of the programme, the red proportion for the unclassified network was 16% and it is now 12%.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused problems. The i2i ambition is to improve the unclassified road network by halving the percentage of roads requiring maintenance. Last year, that figure had fallen to 7% but it has risen to 12%, with the national figure rising from 15% to 17% as highway authorities delayed works and adjusted working practices during the pandemic. Nevertheless, the county claims it remains on the right track to meet the ambition of the i2i programme.

Cllr Phil Bibby, HCC's executive member for highways and transport, said: "I'm pleased to see the investment we're making into maintaining the road network in Hertfordshire and through the i2i programme is showing tangible results.

"We know how important a quality road infrastructure is in Hertfordshire and how it supports our residents and vibrant local economy.

"Each year we deliver in the region of 1,000 road maintenance schemes, and on top of that we have a substantial programme of works to deliver through the i2i programme. I'm encouraged that these figures show the quality of our road network."

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