Highland Council’s new Rapid Road Repair Team is moving a step closer to reality as Members of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee noted that the recruitment of operatives is at interview stage.
At full Council on 2 March 2023 the local authority agreed to provide £1.266m of funding for a temporary Rapid Road Repair Team for 2023/24.
The team will provide centrally managed, strategic support to enable road repairs in targeted areas across Highland.
Potholes can form over a very short period, and the operation of a dedicated team to not only repair defects, but monitor them from a central point, will allow the Council to target specific problem areas and prevent further deterioration of the road network.
Chair of the Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Ken Gowans, welcomed the news that interviews had reached the interview stage and said he “looked forward to seeing teams out on the roads.”
“The Rapid Road Repair Team is a cost avoidance measure as delaying repairs normally results in a larger and therefore more costly repair to be undertaken.
“Having this team in place soon will also reduce the number of temporary, repeated repairs required, as they will be undertaking permanent fixes first time around.
“The dedicated team will have a programme of permanent repairs, which were prioritised and targeted to alleviate pressure on the network and Area teams.
“It will also accelerate our ability to respond and provide a better service to the public.”
The team is to comprise of the following staff for six months, as a trial:
- Engineer/Senior Technician
- Operational Support Officer
- Roads Foreperson
- 7 Roads Operatives
Currently, pothole/ patching repairs are dealt with as part of the Roads Area maintenance workload.
This is in addition to a wide range of other cyclical maintenance tasks, including verge maintenance, drainage, the winter service, and emergency responses.
The Roads Area teams also undertake a significant amount of the road capital works (resurfacing and surface dressing) during the summer period, which impacts on their reactive ability.
The temporary Rapid Road Repair Team, managed from a single point, will be additional to the resources already provided at Area level.
It will not replace the Area resource but be a dedicated one to the repair of potholes (including patching) in the carriageway or footway out with the winter months.
During winter, the operatives would be used to supplement the existing resources for gritting, etc.