Extra road crews drafted in to get us back on track

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An action plan has been drafted to address “failures” in Hertfordshire’s road maintenance.

County contractor Ringway, which carries out repairs, has implemented new measures and deployed extra workers to tackle 15 areas of weakness detailed in an open letter from the council’s opposition leader Stephen Giles-Medhurst.

Ringway admitted its performance in some areas was not good enough after it was issued with a formal early warning notice by Herts County Council.

Ringway said there are now 50 per cent more people on the ground, an additional 80 staff carrying out repairs than in the middle of December and five extra gangs dealing with street lighting.

Despite this, the multinational company said it may still take until June to get the service level up to the expected standard of the contract it took over in October.

Liberal Democrat councillor for St Pauls Ron Tindall said: “There was a slow-down of work prior to the change of contract and it has taken far more time than it should have to get up to speed again.

“This has caused problems with the budgets and getting things done in the division.

“What has also been difficult is getting quotes back from Ringway for the programmes we want to spend money on. That has delayed a number of projects.”

Ringway regional director Jerry Pert said: “Although the contract has not been achieving the service delivery targets in certain areas, namely street lighting and fixing short-term defects such as potholes, in other areas it has been performing well, such as providing a robust winter service.

“The recent wet and wintry weather caused problems, as did integrating our IT systems.

“The key step we are taking to address the backlog of short-term defects such as potholes by the end of February is to increase the number of operational gangs, as well as assign a dedicated team to assess, prioritise and prepare an efficient work programme.”

Ringway is due to begin a £115,000 resurfacing scheme on Boxted Road on Monday, February 18. Visit www.hertsdirect.org/roadworks for more information.