Potholes to be Repaired in Aim to Reduce Compensation Claims

South Lanarkshire Council have pledged to improve more than 80% of the regions roads by 2016, costing the authority £126 million.

Under a new scheme to last eight years, footways and roads will be resurfaced, with particular focus on improving access to rural areas.

It was revealed in March that the council had paid out £127,550 in compensation since 2001 to motorists whose cars were damaged by potholes. The total amount paid out for compensation by all of Scotland’s local authorities combined, exceeded £2 million. But an insurance company said the figures obtained form the councils were just a fraction of the true cost to motorists.

Warranty Direct claimed that road surface defects cost British drivers about £320 million each year. It said the amount paid out to road users was low because proving pothole damage to your car is difficult.

The council’s leader has said he appreciated more investment was needed to repair the roads. Councillor Eddie McAvoy said he believed the plan would transform South Lanarkshire’s roads network. He said: “Records show that year-on-year South Lanarkshire is one of the biggest-spending councils on road network repairs. However, we appreciate our roads network across urban and rural areas needs investment to bring it up to modern standards. This huge injection of new funds will surely achieve this objective.”

The £126m investment is in addition to the existing roads maintenance budget of £10.45m for 2008/2009. The money will be divided between the council’s four main areas. Clydesdale will get the largest amount with 35% of the funds. Hamilton and East Kilbride will both receive 26% and Rutherglen 13%. The council said hopefully with this investment we will be able to resurface over 225km of footways.

Part of this scheme will focus on bringing more business investment to rural areas of South Lanarkshire, council plans to provide small business accommodation in Carluke will provide small start-up firms and established rural businesses with premises to lease. If the project is deemed a success it will be introduced into other areas such as Biggar and Lanark.

The eight-year project is to be funded by the selling of council properties in East Kilbride, Hamilton and Rutherglen. Additional borrowing will also contribute to the funds.

A report published by Audit Scotland last year found that almost half of the country’s roads were in need of repair. The report was based on information supplied by the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS), who monitor the defects on Scotland’s roads. Chairman of the SCOTS, Keith Lane, said this years report would be very similar. He said: “I think the figures will indicate that the road network is not improving at a rate that we would be happy with. There’s a clear need that more investment is required in the road infrastructure, and that is indisputable but there is also a need to ensure that funding is invested wisely.”

SCOTS has estimated that £1.8 billion is needed to improve Scotland’s roads.

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