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Essex Highways contract offers ‘questionable value for money’

News / Tue 14th May 2024 at 09:16am

ESSEX County Council is being asked to express its “disapproval of the questionable value for money afforded the taxpayers of Essex” around highways maintenance reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

Essex County Council is set to debate the current partnership between Essex Highways and Ringway Jacobs when it meets next week.

The motion from councillors Martin Foley and Chris Pond adds the council should ensure a contractor or strategic partner “be not allowed to mark his own homework”.

The motion follows the launch of the council’s 2024 road resurfacing programme, carried out as part of the £39 million carriageways budget for Essex Highways in 2024/25.

The council has said residents can expect to see more work being undertaken to improve roads around the county.

Recently residents fed up with potholes in one street in Chelmsford altered a road sign to highlight their frustrations. Patching Hall Lane was unofficially renamed to Patch The Holes Lane, thanks to the crude handiwork of locals.

Another resident in Uttlesford made his own sign warning motorists of a large pothole in Great Easton between Thaxted and Dunmow.

That was raised in an Essex County Council scrutiny committee around the effectiveness of highway maintenance but not heard in public.

There has been disquiet that large parts of a questions and answers session with Ringway Jacobs – the main contractor for road maintenance in Essex was held in private – even though it has been argued many of the issues discussed could have been held in an open forum.

The Place Services and Economic Growth Policy and Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, April 25, heard from the cabinet member for Highways,

Infrastructure and Sustainable Transport councillor Tom Cunningham and the operations director for Essex Highways at Ringway Jacobs Simon Butt.

A motion to the council moved by Councillor Martin Foley and seconded by Councillor Chris Pond said: “Council expresses disapproval of the questionable value for money afforded the taxpayers of Essex over the last decade by the current “strategic partnership” model on highway work.

“Council notes the decline of the network over that time. For the future, the council calls upon cabinet to ensure a contractor or strategic partner be not allowed to mark

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7 Comments for Essex Highways contract offers ‘questionable value for money’:

David Forman
2024-05-14 11:47:26

What Essex County Council said back in March 2020 about its partnership with Ringway Jacobs to maintain the county's highways: "Andrew Cook, Essex County Council’s Director of Highways and Transportation comments: “I am very pleased to be able to confirm our current successful integrated partnership with Ringway Jacobs for a further five years. The partnership has developed significantly since its inception - it is producing outcomes that really meet the long-term needs of one of the largest counties in the country in a fast-changing transportation world, while delivering the best value for money for citizens." See statement at https://www.ringway-jacobs.co.uk/news/ringway-jacobs-secures-full-five-year-extension-to-essex-county-council-integrated-highway-partnership

Mark
2024-05-14 12:28:10

Highway maintenance and fixing potholes has always been the responsibility of Conservative controlled Essex County Council. That's why it was laughable when the Conservatives took control of Harlow Council promising to fix the potholes.

Steve Brown
2024-05-14 16:57:55

Maybe if they relaid stretches of road instead of filling the pot holes with play-doh we may see some improvements

Matthew Gillman
2024-05-14 18:24:50

What has been frustrating over the last few years is constantly having long stretches of traffic cones with no apparent work going on. I realise some is done at night, but in that case we would expect to see some progress!

Nicholas Taylor
2024-05-15 07:03:47

I call on the towns four County Councillors to take a look and photograph the work done along Haydens Road earlier this month. Quite frankly it is appalling. It is clear where this work will break down as soon as we get cold weather and driving along it is no more comfortable in a bus than what it was before. Whether it is a badly written contract about what work is needed, the standard of workmanship, the materials used, the weather conditions when work is done or poor post inspection before work is paid for, it is clear that the county's roads are not being maintained in a proper fashion. Whilst there may not be enough money to go round, what money is spent on doing a job must be spent on doing a good, robust job.

Norm
2024-05-16 00:50:03

How much is it costing to dig up the road from Sainsbury's to the station and replace it with exactly what it already had? A road with a bus lane, cycle paths, grass verges and bushes. Except now it's branded a "Sustainable transport corridor" and someone gets paid millions to do the work.

David Forman
2024-05-21 14:03:26

And Norm forgot to mention the tmature trees cut down to make way for this project. Let's see if traffic congestion is reduced once it is completed. I'll take a punt and say no it won't.

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