Monday, June 17, 2019
Lancashire County Council has agreed plans to spend £1:2m on improving 'moss roads' which support agricultural and horticultural industry vital to rural communities.
There are over 350 miles of these roads in the county which are difficult to maintain because they are built on soft peaty ground. At the same time, some receive a lot of wear, often due to being used by heavy farming vehicles as well as commuter traffic.
Changes in weather patterns in recent years have led to the peat on which they are built drying out, causing cracking, undulations, and subsidence to road surfaces.
Repairs to moss roads can be very costly compared with maintenance of other roads as work can be needed to rebuild their foundations as well as the top surface layers.
A report to the council's cabinet on Thursday 13 June outlined a new Moss Road Strategy designed to classify all moss roads according to their importance to the economy and local communities, and prioritise maintenance accordingly.
In general, the highest priority will be given to roads which serve local communities connecting routes for commuters, provide access to large businesses and industry, and link key economic areas together. However the programme of maintenance agreed also reflects the need for urgent repairs to some more minor roads where undulations have formed due to the peat on which they are built having dried out.
The majority of moss roads are in the west of the county, and a £1.2m programme of maintenance will be focused on roads in West Lancashire and Wyre which have been identified as the highest priority for repair in the coming year. This includes a resurfacing scheme for a section of Woods Lane in Wyre estimated to cost £240k, and a resurfacing scheme estimated to cost £200k for Gravel Lane in West Lancashire.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "This strategy recognises the importance of the moss roads to rural businesses and communities, and that we need a particular approach to maintaining them, particularly because the ground they are built on means that repairs can be far more costly when compared with other roads.
"We already take the same approach to maintenance of all our roads by prioritising them according to their importance and using survey data to identify when timely maintenance will be most cost effective. However it makes sense to classify moss roads separately to balance the unique demands of maintaining them against the financial constraints which apply to all county council services."
The maintenance schemes agreed for moss roads brings the county council's budget for improvements to road surfaces in the current financial year to over £24m.
The strategy also outlines that the council will seek to ensure that all moss roads remain safe by carrying out running repairs, with highways teams also able to use signs or introduce changes to regulations such as lower speed limits if necessary.
Tagged as: Roads, Parking and Travel