Stevenage councillors go potty over £200k traffic signs
- Credit: Archant
A DECISION to install traffic information signs which cost more than £200,000 has been criticised by councillors who say repairing potholes should come first.
A dozen signs which give real-time traffic updates are being put up around the Stevenage area on behalf of Hertfordshire County Council at a cost of £201,724.
Locations include Hitchin Road, Broadhall Way, Six Hills Way and Fairlands Way, as well as one in Little Wymondley. Hertfordshire county councillor Sharon Taylor said the signs, which inform motorists of delays and hazards from a County Hall control centre, are not needed.
“We’ve lived without them for 60 years and I don’t think they’re particularly going to help,” said Cllr Taylor, who is also the leader of Stevenage Borough Council. The town is full of potholes and that should be the priority. I don’t know who has asked for them or where they’ve come from.”
Fellow county councillor Robin Parker, who is the leader of the Stevenage Liberal Democrats, said he has already had one resident in his Chells division complain.
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“I’ve had a complaint from a resident saying its blocking his view,” said Cllr Parker, who was first informed about the county council’s intentions to install the signs about a year ago.
“The county council never told me in advance when the signs were going in and didn’t consult with anyone, that’s my bone of contention. Message signs are generally a good idea but they’re not the number one priority. Repairing the roads is far more important.”
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Ringway, which has installed the signs, said since taking over road maintenance in October last year, 347 potholes in Stevenage had been reported and 255 repaired up to the end of January.
Cllr Stuart Pile, cabinet member for highways and transport at the county council, said the funding comes from the Local Transport Plan and could not be spent on potholes.
“It’s a quite different pot of funding and could not be diverted, or we would certainly be challenged by Government,” he said.
“We have now invoked our winter recovery plan to deal with the high numbers of potholes following the two recent spells of cold weather. This means that we will be doing high numbers of permanent pothole repairs rather then temporary ones – weather permitting.”
The county council has been unable to confirm the ongoing maintenance cost of the signs.