Funding to alleviate timber transport pressures

Argyll and Bute Council leader, Robin Currie.

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Argyll and Bute has secured £1.227m from the Scottish Timber Transport Scheme (STTS), to be used for upgrading roads used for timber extraction.

This was reported to members of the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee at a meeting on Thursday September 10.

Over the years, funding from the STTS has made a significant contribution to maintaining the condition of the council’s road network. This funding complements the significant long-term, capital investment made by the council for roads surfacing and reconstruction over the last few years.

The committee also heard that the capital works for roads reconstruction and footway schemes for 2020/21 have been revised as a result of delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

There will be no surface dressing work carried out this year. This work is normally done over the summer months when the warmer temperatures soften the underlying road material allowing the chips to become bedded in with the action of passing traffic.

Instead the revised programme will include a mix of traditional resurfacing, surface dressing preparatory works and in situ recycling, which involves breaking up the old road surface and adding other materials so that the road can be re-laid. This method is particularly suitable for roadworks on islands as it requires transporting fewer materials and so is less reliant on ferries, is more environmentally friendly and provides best value.

The surface dressing programme will carry forward into the next financial year.

Councillor Robin Currie, policy lead for housing, roads and infrastructure services, said: ‘During the Covid-19 pandemic we had to change the way we worked and it wasn’t possible to focus on the large-scale road programmes we’d originally planned. We are now in the position to start work again, and despite the lateness in the year, can still deliver a substantial amount of the planned work.

‘The additional funding from the STTS is a welcome addition to our investment in roads capital works, which in recent years has made an overall improvement in our network. At the same time, we continue to invest in day-to-day maintenance work like patching and filling potholes.’

Visit Argyll and Bute’s website to follow the progress of its Capital Roads Programme.