Shropshire Council

Network North plan funding

Highways logos

Additional highways maintenance was made possible by the 2023 Budget and Network North plan. This is our plan for how this money will be spent, and how we'll ensure that this investment will be transformational for local communities by adopting innovation and ensuring that the investment will have the greatest benefit in the long-term.

In the 2023 Budget, £3,662,000 of capital investment was provided to Shropshire Council for additional highways maintenance. This investment has allowed us to deliver 11 miles of resurfacing. This programme of investment covered a range of schemes that enhanced town centres and improved strategic routes, as well as enabling smaller schemes designed to enhance where people live. Examples of these resurfacing schemes are:

  • Shrewsbury Road in Oswestry, a main route into the town
  • Church Street and Cross Street in Oswestry, enhancing the town centre
  • Sandford Avenue in Church Stretton, improving the main route into the town
  • Bridge Street and Mill Street in Bridgnorth, improving a main route into the town
  • A4117 east of Cleobury Mortimer, improving a strategic route
  • A41/A525 roundabout in Whitchurch, improving a strategic junction
  • Significantly improving roads where people live, such as Monkmoor Road in Shrewsbury, Cherry Way in Market Drayton and Barke Street in Highley

Further funding was made available from the Network North plan in October 2023. For Shropshire this has meant an additional £2,619,000 in 2023/24 with a further £2,619,000 in 2024/25. With this funding we'll be able to deliver an extensive preventative maintenance programme by the preparation of sites in 2023/24 with targeted patching treatments, and follow-on surface dressing in 2024/25.

Preventative maintenance is an important part of the overall highway maintenance strategy in Shropshire. It's a highly efficient maintenance method allowing us to improve more miles of road per pound spent, but more importantly it can reduce the need for more expensive treatments in the future.

The sites for preparation in this programme have been selected to achieve a number of aims:

  • Protecting the maximum length of network in the future
  • Reducing the risk of potholes
  • Ensuring the maximum value for money across the programme

The programme of site preparation commenced in January 2024 for completion in March 2024. The surface dressing programme will begin in June 2024.

The preventative maintenance programme covers a range of sites, including strategic routes and rural lanes. Examples of the strategic routes in the preventative maintenance programme are:

  • A4113 from A49 to the county boundary
  • A528 Ellesmere Road in Shrewsbury
  • B5476 from Wem to Tilstock
  • B4386 from Nox to Winsley, Westbury
  • A442 from Chapel Lane, Quatt to the county boundary
  • A41 from A5 Pickmere Island to the county boundary
  • A4169 from Much Wenlock towards Buildwas

The preparation programme will improve 23 miles of strategic routes, 24 miles of rural lanes and four miles of other urban roads. Following on from this programme, 40 surface dressing sites are planned that will restore and protect 59 miles of road next year.

The programmes highlighted above are part of a longer-term investment in Shropshire’s highways. Over the past five years we've been able to make investment in the highway through Department for Transport (DfT) grant funding and additional funding made available by Shropshire Council...

Highways spending graph

In delivering these programmes as well as other activities, we're implementing an innovative ‘mixed economy’ highway maintenance model. This model has seen us enhance our service by using the existing ‘term maintenance’ contract, as well as in-house operations and energising the local supply chain. The model has resulted in a 75% reduction in the cost of reactive repairs, with a significant reduction in the backlog of repairs. We're one of the finalists for the ‘Innovation’ award at the LGC (Local Government Chronicle) Awards 2024.

All capital investment in the highway in Shropshire is carried out to achieve the maximum benefit throughout the whole life of road.

Treatments are selected that are most appropriate. This can be by employing higher quality materials that last longer, but also using materials that are fit-for-purpose. This can mean using less expensive treatments in some situations where it's clear that these will provide the lowest whole-life cost overall.

An important part of the whole-life view of highways maintenance is to reduce the risk of investments being damaged by utility works in the future. We do this by forming a medium-term three-year programme in which work is identified, developed and delivered. The medium-term programme is shared with utility companies at
regular local coordination meetings via our Street Works team. This sharing of information can result in utility companies bringing forward work and us delaying maintenance so that highway maintenance is the final activity on each road, minimising the risk of the finished surface being disrupted.

The medium-term programme is also shared with our Improving Highways team  that works closely with local developers; through the intelligence available on local development activity we seek to time maintenance interventions that follow local developers' activities, ensuring that the highway capital investment
continues to offer the greatest benefit in the long term.