The largest local authority in Wales by area, Powys CC, has decided to update its Highways Asset Management Plan (HAMP) using a new toolkit developed by the County Surveyors’ Society Wales (CSS) and Scottish chief officers.
CSS Wales finalised the new document framework and toolkit for HAMPs in collaboration with the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS).
The result includes cost and condition models, which enable officers to compare different funding strategies for asset groups.
In a report this week, Nigel Brinn, Powys CC’s head of highways, transport and recycling, said it appeared that all Welsh authorities were interested in using the CSSW/SCOTS arrangement.
Benefits include potential for a joint approach to managing liabilities and legal conformity, procurement of specialist services through a lead authority, and potential for lower costs with group procurement.
The decision by Powys – which is subject to a 10-day call-in period until 19 July – coincides with an injection of additional funding to try and help stem the deterioration of the road network in this large rural county.
Powys is facing a major challenge on its road network. The latest Welsh statistical bulletin reveals that Powys has the highest proportion, 19%, of local authority roads in need of further investigation, compared with the Welsh average of 11.2%.
In March the authority allocated an additional £11.85m over three years to road infrastructure however its total maintenance backlog is estimated at £57m and the injection of new cash will only be enough to slow the rate of deterioration, not stop it.
The council estimated last year that its maintenance return periods for carriageways and footways were 118 years on C roads and 181 years for unclassified roads – which make up 42% of the county’s road network. Structural backlogs include £34m for bringing bridges up to 40/44 tonne capacity.