Road repairs and resurfacing
This information describes how the Royal Borough of Greenwich maintains its roads and selects roads for major maintenance such as resurfacing.
The borough’s road network is one of its most valuable assets and valued at several hundred million pounds. We use well established strategies to ensure it is managed and maintained to the highest standard within the resources available, and to ensure we get the best value for money.
Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for managing and maintaining the 'red route' that runs through the borough. The Royal Borough of Greenwich manages and maintains all other public highway roads in the borough.
Our highway inspectors inspect our streets on a regular basis; fortnightly in the main town centres and shopping areas, monthly on our busiest roads / pavements and three monthly for all other streets (please note this frequency is currently being reviewed and subject to separate work). Damage and defects found are assessed for short or longer term repair and priority given to those where accidents may occur.
As the highway authority we are required to maintain the public highway in a safe condition. This does not mean that all roads and pavements have to be perfectly even but they do have to be kept at a reasonable standard for normal use.
Common defects that are identified from inspections are potholes, loose paving slabs and damaged bollards.
As in many parts of the country at certain times of the year residents may see an increase in the number of road defects, for example, following a very cold period or very wet weather. The Council will repair all defects that meet the criteria for repair but it takes time for our inspectors to get round to all parts of the borough as they work through their scheduled inspection regime.
Defects that don’t meet the criteria for repair, and areas that remain safe but are aesthetically displeasing, are not usually repaired.
In addition to the minor short term maintenance regime, we also deliver a small annual programme of planned maintenance consisting of 20-25 schemes with a combined value between £800,000 - £1m.
TfL funds planned work on our 'A Road' network and the Council directly funds resurfacing work on all other roads. For ‘A Road’ maintenance there is significant financial pressure on this area of work and the borough has seen a consistent reduction in funding in recent years. Funding levels have reduced by almost 90% within the last 10 years although TfL have indicated their intention to reinstate funding close to previously seen levels.
We survey the condition of every road in the borough on a regular basis. We use the results of these surveys, along with other information such are reports and repair history, to prioritise which roads will receive planned maintenance.
We aim for a balanced approach when planning which roads to resurface as we have to make the most of the limited resources that are available to us.
This approach means that we consider the lifespan of the whole of the network and not just individual roads.
The following example explains why we do not always repair the roads that appear to be the worst first.
If there were four roads that needed resurfacing. One of them is in very bad condition and requires an expensive complete reconstruction whilst the other three are not in as bad condition and require less expensive surface treatments only.
We could spend our limited budget on fixing the one very bad road. However, the other three roads would remain untreated and continue to deteriorate, requiring more expensive repairs in the near future. This means that next year we would have three bad roads and only one good one.
Alternatively, for the same cost, we could do small-scale repairs to the very bad road to make it safe as well as resurfacing the other three roads. Therefore, next year we would still have one relatively bad (but safe) road but also three good roads. This would result in an improvement to the overall average condition of the network compared to Option 1.
In practice, we try to adopt Option 2 so that in the long term the number of bad roads will be reduced even if in the short term it may appear that we are neglecting certain areas.