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Shropshire Roads: condition – generally shameful

It is no surprise to anyone that shropshire roads are in aweful condition.  Most of us recognise that the roads improve when we cross the border into neighbouring authorities. If you need a graphic illustration of that then look no further than the annual road condition data from the Department of Transport. Their data includes an interactive map.

DfT interactive map data (2018/19) puts Shropshire in worst banding for B and roads

Shropshire B & C roads have the worst condition banding in England – with a score of 12 putting them in the worst category.
A roads are closer to average but still stand out as bad. The condition rating of 4 didn’t nudge between 2013 & 2019.

A roads are better but still aren’t great

There are some reports of some modest improvement in A roads. But as long as Shropshire averages out A, B & C road data the public aren’t getting the real picture. People can see with their own eyes what the condition is like and they aren’t impressed.

I reported on this data before in 2018: Growing traffic & pothole problems vs £5m cuts in roads

The state of ours roads are symptomatic of the generally poor Conservative administration. In May residents have an opportunity to give the Conservatives a message. Their record over the last 12 years has been shameful. Shropshire deserves better than it’s roads falling apart. Demand Better in May and vote Liberal Democrat.

There is plenty of discussion about the appropriate level of funding required to fix our roads but basically take ANY number you hear and treble it. The Conservatives have recently announce a unfunded pledge to inject £40m into roads over the next 4 years. Unfunded because their budget was only agreed recently and the pledge wasn’t included. To fund it something else would have to be cut or it would have be paid for by inappropriate use of capital to fund a revenue commitment. To put the £40m pledge into scale, that is just under the £44m the Conservatives recklessly lost when they ‘invested’ £52m in Shrewsbury shopping centres.

We’ve got to hold our hands up and say we take responsibility, it happened on our watch

Steve Charmely at place overview scrutiny March 2021.

What they didn’t mention is that they cut £5m a year for 4 years in a row. Half of their unfunded pledge recovers that £20m. Unchecked that cut would add up to another £20m in 4 years time. By commiting to £10m a year for the next 4 years thier unfunded pledge will restore funding to 2017 levels. There wasn’t enough money in the budget in 2017, before their cut, to properly maintain our roads. 2017 funding levels certainly won’t be enough in 2024!!

Empty promises don’t fix roads. Investment in proper planned routine maintenance does. It is as if the Conservatives have suddenly realised there is an election on. Station road in Whittington has been appaling for ages. Now suddenly it is getting repaired, next month, just before the election. A welcome improvement. But it shouldn’t take an election to provoke action. Well done to residents for applying pressure and forcing action.

For the 2019 condition report (the 2020 report will be out later in the year) and interactive map check out the DFT map:

Patch after patch after patch is wasted money, in transport, manpower and tarmac. Do it once. Do it properly. Well maintained roads can cope with adverse weather better and are generally safer for everyone. As the saying goes: look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves.