The county council is giving ‘serious consideration’ to a multi-million pound investment for resurfacing West Sussex’s unclassified roads.
Pieter Montyn, cabinet member for Highways and Transport, is weighing up a proposal to spend a significant sum over the next two years on improving quieter roads around the county.
Studies have forecast that if money is invested up front on high quality road surfaces, it will save millions of pounds in maintenance costs over the next 20 years.
Mr Montyn said: “We have spent all summer and autumn investigating long term plans for managing the highways network, in response to the many residents who expressed concern about the deterioration of some of our roads.
“By putting in place a long term plan that makes our roads more resilient, we can prevent damage, provide greater value for the taxpayer and make managing problems caused by extreme weather easier.
“We cannot give an exact figure at this stage, but our findings suggest if we invest heavily now in upgrading road surfaces, it will be cheaper in the long run to maintain them and stop them deteriorating.”
Over the last three years West Sussex has experienced some of the worst weather conditions in living memory.
Record levels of rainfall, along with flooding, freezing temperatures and snow, caused significant deterioration to the county’s road network.
While the county’s A and B roads, and minor C roads, continued to be maintained above national standards, the network of unclassified roads has slipped.
In 2009/10 only 12 per cent of unclassified roads across West Sussex were considered in need of repair.
In 2012/13 that figure had increased to 22 per cent.
Unclassified roads make up 55 per cent of the entire road network in the county.
Mr Montyn said: “West Sussex needs reliable transport links to help connect people to jobs and businesses.
“Our rural and smaller roads have to be up to the job.
“Better roads do not cost as much to maintain and significantly reduce the outbreak of potholes after spells of poor weather.”
The councillor added he hoped to make a statement at the next full council meeting on Friday, December 13.