Island Roads have resurfaced just 60% of the Isle of Wight’s road network during the first 7 years of the PFI contract, despite an initial suggestion that all 818km of the network would be resurfaced during the Core Investment Period.
According to the Isle of Wight Council, as of 31st August 2019, just 497km of Isle of Wight’s roads have been resurfaced. That means, on average, 71km of road has been resurfaced each year during the CIP. It would take a further 4.5 years to complete resurfacing the entire network if work carried on at the same pace, which it won’t after April 2020.
This confirmation means that Island residents may not see their roads resurfaced for years and years to come – if at all.
Island Echo raised questions about the Core Investment Period (CIP) back in May of this year as it became clear that a number of roads had still not been touched, with the end of the CIP looming. In addition, the ‘works in your area’ map was suddenly removed from the official Island Roads website without explanation.
More recently, Councillor Geoff Brodie has started publically questioning the delivery of the original CIP promises.
In a recent statement issued by the Isle of Wight Council in response to Cllr Brodie, Cllr Ian Ward claimed that although the original plan was for all roads to be resurfaced, this changed when government funding for the Highways PFI project was reduced by 30% in 2010. However, a council document discovered by Cllr Brodie dated May 2012 has thrown doubt on this claim…
The official report states:
“The scope of the project…has broadly remained unchanged since December 2009, despite the reduction in grant funding. The project team… has focused on improving value for money… the consequence of which has been to achieve the same scope.
“The project covers the Island’s entire adopted highways network encompassing all forms of highway maintenance…
“The project scope includes refurbishment of 818 kilometres of publicly maintained adopted road networks… which requires considerable upgrade within the seven-year Core Investment Programme (CIP).”
As recently as last year, a senior Isle of Wight Councillor is known to have been telling members of the public that every road would be resurfaced in the first 7 years. Cllr Stuart Hutchinson said in a report to Shalfleet and Yarmouth Parish Council in 2018:
“Our Highways network continues to improve and by the end of the core investment period, which has another two years to run, every Island Road and pavement will have been brought up to a high standard. It then will be maintained at that standard for the next 20 years”.
Island Echo has asked the Isle of Wight Council how many km of the Island’s roads will be resurfaced under the PFI agreement. The response doesn’t pin down a number. A spokesperson said:
“The contract requires Island Roads to bring the network up to an agreed standard — not to upgrade every single road.
“It is important to clarify that the road resurfacing and renovation programme will not cease once we reach the end of the Core Investment Period in April 2020. So far, approximately 90 percent of the Island’s most used roads (known as hierarchy one and two roads) have been treated”.
This week Councillor Karen Lucioni has been left surprised following a response by Island Roads to her enquiry about Bennet Street in Ryde – arguably one of the worst roads on the Island. Despite a desperate need for resurfacing, Island Roads have confirmed that the road is not currently in any schedule to be resurfaced. This seems to be a reoccurring theme when roads are made of concrete bases.
Details about ‘further efficiency savings’ coming into force from April 2020 are yet to be confirmed.
Have you noticed cracks appearing in recently resurfaced roads? We would love to know where you think the roads are already breaking up… comment below!