Aberdeen approves £13m roads capital budget as Covid hits work schedules
A £13.669 million budget for capital road improvement works for the 2021/22 financial year has been approved by Aberdeen City Council’s city growth and resources committee.
The money will be used for 16 types of improvements ranging from bridge repairs to safer routes for walking and cycling to new LED lampposts.
They include £392,000 for traffic lights and pedestrian crossings, £3,146,000 for lighting improvements, reserve lighting improvements (for approval if required) £1,001,000 for Cycling Walking Safer Routes, £600,000 for pavement resurfacing, reserve pavement resurfacing (for approval if required), £2,288,000 for road resurfacing, reserve carriageway resurfacing (for approval if required), £90,000 for drainage works, reserve drainage programme (for approval if required), £230,000 for weak and major bridge repairs, £30,000 for road sign replacement, £1,360,000 for flooding and coastal protection schemes, £1,457,500 for the A92/A96 detrunked section programme, reserve list for A92/A96 (for approval if required), £3,000,000 for additional investment in roads capital allocation 2020/21, and £105,000 for NESTRANS-related works. The total value of the capital works is £13,699,500.
The budget includes £4m for 2021/22 which is part of a £10m of additional funding for roads which started to be spent from 2018/19 onwards. This additional capital funding was 2018-19 - £500,000 (completed), 2019-20 - £2.5m (completed), 2020-21 - £3m (partially completed and remainder carried forward to 2021/22), 2021-22 - £4m.
Councillor Douglas Lumsden, convener of the city growth and resources committee, said: “We look forward to seeing the improvements around the city with the capital works programme for roads, pavements and bridges.”
The revenue roads budget for work such as pothole repairs is £5.873m and was approved in a separate process.
The report to the committee said the programme is in line with the transportation strategy to provide safe crossing, cycling and walking facilities and reduce traffic speeds thereby contributing to accident reduction across the city and improve safety for all road users.
The use of such funding will significantly enhance the council’s ability to meet the aims and objectives of the emerging Aberdeen Local Transport Strategy 2015-2020, and is also part of the Covid-19 economic response to stimulate the local economy through material suppliers, consultants and local contractors, as the schemes are moved forward and commissioned.
The report also explained the impact that Covid-19 has had on capital work schedules. During 2020/2021, capital schemes previously approved from the previous financial year from both the capital programme and the additional capital programme were severely disrupted and the council lost 5.5 months of the normal seven-month weather window. Many of the capital schemes approved last year at the Urgent Business Committee on May 6 will be implemented this financial year and have not been included in this year’s report.
In addition, the amount of necessary change in work practices due to Covid-19 will be project specific as it will depend on the project nature, its size, location, what stage it is at in its delivery, the tasks underway and the tasks still outstanding and what impact this will have on the project’s critical path and the overall capital programme.
Supply chain capacity and in particular quarries are likely to pose another significant risk to the planned projects delivery following the Covid-19 pandemic. The supply industry faces the same challenges listed above with regards to labour, plant and materials. It is inevitable that the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced time and cost pressures on all parties, the report said, and it should also be borne in mind that there is no precedent to help the contracting parties to understand what the potential future impacts may be or when restrictions may end.