Roads relief in sight for drivers

MOTORISTS running a gauntlet on Formartine roads finally have some good news to look forward to, with funding for repairs going before local councillors on March 22.

Following four months of harsh weather, plus extensive cuts to the money councils have available for repairs, evidence of wear and tear is making itself felt on cars as one Ellon councillor reported damage to his own vehicle.

Just two weeks after Audit Scotland praised Aberdeenshire’s road network as being in a generally ‘good condition’, and two days after Aberdeenshire Council launches its online transport consultation, evidence continues to mount on the poor state of the shire’s roads, and the urgent need for repair.

Motorists tackling the roundabout beside Ellon Park and Ride currently face a gauntlet of uneven tarmac, while other areas of the town show excessive wear and tear, notably the bottom of Hillhead Road and Balmoral Avenue.

Meanwhile, certain roads in the countryside - including the route connecting Udny Green to the A920 - are hazardous to vehicles travelling at anything above a crawl.

The Audit Scotland report outlined that 70% of Aberdeenshire roads are in ‘good’ condition, making the area one of the highest scoring in Scotland. But that figure suggests that 30% - almost one in three roads - were either ‘satisfactory’ or ‘poor’, which indicates the scale of the problem facing both motorists and the local authority, as it struggles to maintain a network of 5,600 km of roads on an increasingly limited budget from central government.

Ellon councillor Rob Merson has himself had to undertake repairs to his car in recent weeks.

“The damage to the roads network across the whole of Scotland as a result of the hard winter is very obvious,” he said.

“I will not be alone in having suffered a cracked windscreen and suspension damage to my car in recent weeks.

“I am pleased that there is a programme of temporary emergency repairs being carried out by the council to address potentially dangerous faults as a matter of urgency.

“I very much welcomed the fact that the Scottish Government provided a £1.36 million cash boost to Aberdeenshire Council to cover the costs of winter maintenance and deal with urgent repairs on local roads.

“I have been in contact with Roads Service on behalf of a number of constituents, and have been pleased to note that some of these have already been acted on.”

An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman assured the Times that the local authority was aware of the road surface conditions in Ellon, and aims to complete repair work in the town in the coming weeks.

He said: “We are also finalising plans for our road maintenance programme for 2011/12 which will outline all of the council’s proposed road maintenance works for the coming year.

”The programme, which will go before the Formartine Area Committee on Tuesday, March 22, will include proposed works for the Ellon area to repair damaged sections of the local network.

“Assuming councillors approve the proposals, road repairs will go ahead at the start of the next financial year.”