Aberdeenshire Council has urged the public to avoid “light-hearted banter” with its road crews as they carry out a major programme of pothole repairs.
As a result of the pandemic last year, the council’s roads maintenance programme was suspended as frontline staff were instead redeployed to assist in more crucial services like household waste collections and burials.
Although the local authority dealt with all road defects that posed an immediate danger, the long period of suspension, coupled with a long period of wintry weather has resulted in an “increasing number of emerging issues with the road network condition being reported”.
Over the summer months ahead, the council’s roads teams will be conducting a “major effort” to repair potholes and other defects, and carry out surface-dressing work.
Strict Covid safety procedures
But to limit the spread of Covid, the authority has instructed its road workers to not engage in banter with the public while they carry out their important duties.
Philip McKay, the council’s head of roads, urged the public to be patient if roadworks inconvenience them.
He said: “We appreciate that working on roads can cause some inconvenience to users, but I would ask that you bear with us as we carry out these essential repairs which deliver long-term benefits across our 3,500-mile roads network.
“We know that many of you enjoy a bit of light-hearted banter with our road crews when you pass which is normally great, but we must stress that while they continue to follow strict Covid safety procedures, they won’t be able to interact with you in the same way.”
‘Please be patient’
Councillor Peter Argyle, chairman of the council’s infrastructure services committee, highlighted the roads teams for their flexibility in assisting the council in delivering its most important services in the worst months of the pandemic.
He said: “We have all felt the challenges around the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact has been particularly felt by our Roads colleagues – many of whom were redeployed last year to support vital services such as waste collections and burials.
“We fully acknowledge that our roads maintenance programme was significantly hampered and that there have been more reports of potholes and other surface defects requiring attention.
“We are investing additional revenue to carry out these critical repairs during the summer, but it will take longer to complete.
“I would urge all motorists to please be patient as we undertake the very repairs you have quite rightly demanded and above all, please be respectful of our roads crews who are undertaking that vital work on your behalf.”
Motorists have been urged to take extra care and reduce speed when crossing sections of roads where surface dressing work has been carried out, as there is a risk of skidding.