Consultation 2014 (closed)

Background information

We have a legal responsibility to repair and maintain 8,000 miles of highways in Devon (this excludes those roads looked after by the Highways Agency). As well as looking after the roads, we have to maintain:

  • 3,500 bridges
  • 1,750 retaining walls
  • Over 75,000 street lights
  • 3,200 miles of footpaths and cycle ways
  • 180,000 gullies

We also look after all the traffic signals and pedestrian crossings in Devon, and make sure our roadside verges are maintained.

During the winter we maintain our highways and key routes through a gritting and snow clearance programme. In 2012, we used 30,000 tonnes of salt, covering more than 2,000 miles of our highway network.

The severe weather events of 2012 and then the winter of 2013/14 has caused significant problems on our highway network. During March and April 2014, the number of workers dealing with potholes almost quadrupled as we struggled to fill in excess of 4,000 potholes a week. Decades of under-funding and increased rates of deterioration due to this severe weather have created a huge backlog of maintenance now estimated to cost more than £700m.

Around £18.5 million has already been cut from the highways revenue budget since 2009, but it is vitally important that we can find different, more cost-effective ways of doing things and that non-essential work is stopped so that we can maintain a safe and effective highway network while helping to support economic growth.