Highland Council yesterday announced it has allocated a further £1.5million funding towards mending roads in a state of disrepair across the region – but they faced questions over where the money will go.
Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Highland Council’s budget leader, said: “At the council’s meeting in March, members agreed a revised five year Capital Plan and agreed to prioritise roads maintenance if there was any underspend in the Council’s capital programme for 2018/19.
“A close review and reassessment of the Council’s Capital Budget showed that there was an underspend in resources required for ICT investment based on latest prices and operational requirements. I am very pleased that we have been able to act swiftly to redirect these funds into much needed repairs of Highland roads.”
Of newly found funds, £1,450,000 has been allocated to repairs on the region’s roads, with an allocation of £50,000 being earmarked to upgrade the winter ice alert systems the local authority uses to monitor roads for gritting in the winter months.
Councillor Allan Henderson said: “The beauty of this is that it will be put to our eight area committees which are under their own chairs and they can divi out the money as they see fit.
“This is about localism and will be welcomed across the whole of Highland.
“We are £168million behind on our road spend so we need to bring our roads up to standard.
“No matter where you go, if its work, school or a hospital, you need to cross a highland road.
“We are readdressing the balance of years of underspend because our roads have too easily been hit hard over the years.”
Works on roads across the region are set to take place over the summer months.
Councillor Ken Gowans said: “I am quite surprised an underspend of a significant financial sum has been found. That said if we do have £1.5million to spend on roads then that is probably a good thing.
“Roads across the Highlands are in a shocking state of repair. However; I do feel we need more plant and more resources into the physical maintenance of roads.
“When it comes around to winter maintenance we will perhaps be asking ourselves why this money wasn’t kept for this.”