Just 50 roads are now set to be repaired this year, after the coronavirus crisis delayed the council’s pothole repair plan.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) plans to resurface 92 Reading roads have been pushed back due the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The council’s Policy Committee will vote on how to move forward with the potholes and road-resurfacing project at next Monday’s virtual Policy Committee on May 18, with four options on offer.

Council officers have recommended ‘option one’, which would halve the spending this year (2020/21) to £1.5 million and reallocate the leftover funds to the following two years.

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Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Environment, Planning and Transport, said the coronavirus health emergency had caused unavoidable delay to works but the council would deliver Reading’s “biggest ever” road repair programme in full.

He said approximately 50 roads will now be fixed in 2020/21, with a focus on the roads that are in the most urgent need of attention.

In the council’s most recent resident’s survey, 58 per cent of people said their number one priority for improvements is better road surfaces.

Meanwhile, the council is rapidly moving forward with plans to re-allocate roads for cyclists and walking, following government guidance issued last week.

If you want to have your say on transport plans in the town, you have until August 30 to comment on the council’s consultation at: www.reading.gov.uk/transport2036.

Why have the works been delayed?

Preparation works for the road repair programme had been scheduled to begin in April but have been delayed by the increased number of parked cars on residential roads which are not moving, due to the lockdown.

Once it is known when the lockdown restrictions will be lifted or amended, the contractor will quickly be able to begin re-surfacing works, according to the council.

The council only has until the end of October before weather conditions deteriorate and, after that, work would only be able to re-start again in March 2021.

What had been planned?

A total of £10.4 million of repairs to road surfaces, pavements and footpaths has been planned for the next three years and was approved last month by the chief executive in consultation with council leader Jason Brock.

This includes £1.4 million of Department for Transport funding, which must be spent this year and is not included in the vote next week.

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Councillor Tony Page, lead member for strategic environment, planning and transport, said the programme is “Reading’s biggest ever investment in new road surfaces for residential streets”.

RBC had planned to resurface around 92 roads in the first year of the programme, which is now set to be almost halved.

What are the options on offer to councillors?

The committee is likely to push forward with option one – reducing the works in year one and undertaking those works in the following two years.

The other three options proposed are:

  • Delaying the programme by one year and undertaking the works from 2021-2024
  • Delaying the programme by one year and delivering it in 2021-23
  • Delivering the programme by one year and delivering a reduced set of works in 2021-23.

But council officers say these three options would likely see the expected improvement to residential roads reduced and further deterioration during the delay.

Here is the list of the 92 roads that had been set for a revamp this year, with 50 of these now likely to be prioritised.