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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the ROADS COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Thursday, 25 April 1996 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors SANDY WEST, GEORGE P ALLAN, WILLIAM G CROWE, Provost Mrs FRANCES E DUNCAN, FRANK ELLIS, IAN MACKINTOSH, WILLIAM MIDDLETON, ROBERT J MURRAY, ALEXANDER W SHAND and RICHARD B SPEIRS.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors JOHN C GIBB GEORGE A LAMONT and BRIAN M C MILNE.

Councillor WEST, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of the meeting of this Committee of 28 February 1996 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

2. ROADS DEPARTMENT - BUSINESS PLAN

There was submitted Report No 248/96 by the Director of Roads, together with the first Roads Department Business Plan, which outlined the key roads issues to be addressed and linked them into Angus Council’s Mission Statement and key themes. The Plan addressed the organisational structure and range of services offered within the Roads Department. In addition, the Plan considered revenue, capital and CFCR programmes and priorities, staff performance appraisal, internal costs and the implications of compulsory competitive tendering.

Having noted in particular the constrained budgets within which the Roads Department was required to provide a wide range of services, the Committee congratulated the Director of Roads on the presentation of a concise and informative Plan, and agreed:

(i) to approve the Roads Department’s first Business Plan; and

(ii) to note that at an early date, once revenue, capital and CFCR allocations had been decided, a Report detailing the financial dimensions of the Department’s activities would be submitted to this Committee.

3. MEMBERSHIP OF WORLD ROAD ASSOCIATION (PIARC) - PERMANENT INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ROAD CONGRESSES

There was submitted Report No 279/96 by the Director of Roads recommending that Angus Council become a member of the World Road Association (PIARC) which was recognised as the leading body in promoting and developing roads issues in a world wide context.

The aim of the Association was to promote international co-operation on issues connected with roads and road transport This was in accordance with one of the key themes contained within the Council’s Strategic Statement, being the promotion of the interests of Angus locally, nationally and internationally. The membership subscription for PIARC was £265 and would be met from the Roads Department’s revenue budget.

The Committee agreed that Angus Council should seek membership of the World Road Association (PIARC).

4. THE ANGUS COASTAL EXPERIENCE

There was submitted Report No 217/96 by the Directors of Cultural Services, Planning, Transport and Economic Development, and Roads advising that the Angus Coastal Experience project had been developed by their Departments.

The project involved the possible creation of a footpath and cycleway, including various interpretive facilities, from Monifieth to Montrose and a submission had been made for funding to the Scottish Tourist Board as part of its "Scotland’s Coast Line and the Millennium" bid to the Millennium Commission.

Having noted that the terms of the Report had been approved by the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee on 18 April 1996 (Article 5 refers), the Committee agreed that appropriate officials seek the public’s views on the project and thereafter advance the project to the detailed planning stage.

5. THE NATIONAL CYCLE NETWORK - THE ANGUS LEG

There was submitted Joint Report No 215/96 by the Directors of Planning, Transport and Economic Development, Roads and Recreational Services advising on the establishment of a National Cycle Network which was to be created with the help of the Millennium Commission.

The Report indicated that a design and engineering charity SUSTRANS (Sustainable Transport) had received a substantial grant from the Millennium Commission to assist with the co-ordination and programming of the work on the cycle network throughout the country and that, as much of the work on individual legs would be undertaken by local authorities, SUSTRANS would be responsible for disbursing the Millennium Commission’s funds via grant assistance.

Having noted that the terms of the Report had been approved by the Recreation and Cultural Services Committee on 18 April 1996 (Article 4 refers), the Committee agreed for its interest:-

(i) that the establishment of the Angus leg of the National Cycle network be approved in principle;

(ii) that appropriate officials be authorised to investigate this matter further with a view to reporting back in due course; and

(iii) that an application for grant assistance towards the cost of these investigations be submitted to SUSTRANS.

6. ROAD SAFETY

(a) Management of Road Safety Defects

There was submitted Report No 243/96 by the Director of Roads advising of the Accounts Commission’s Management Paper "A Costly Trip - Management of Road Safety Defects" which had been published in January 1996. The Report summarised the procedures currently in operation in Angus for the management of road safety defects, the procedures for dealing with insurance claims arising from such defects, and put forward proposals for ensuring that the costs to the Council arising out of such claims were kept to a minimum.

The Report recommended that Angus Council should continue the practices and procedures of the former Tayside Regional Council, improve them where necessary and introduce new measures as appropriate. This would ensure that the cost of public liability claims was minimised.

Following discussion, the Committee agreed:-

(i) that the hierarchy of roads, based on volume of traffic, percentage of HGVs and buses and speed of traffic proposed by the Local Authorities Associations (LAA) Code of Good Practice for Highway Maintenance be adopted;

(ii) that the safety inspection intervals recommended by the LAA Code of Good Practice be adopted;

(iii) that safety inspections of modular surfaces (paving slabs, concrete blocks, setts, cobbles etc) be carried out on foot at intervals appropriate to remote footpaths and pedestrianised areas;

(iv) that no formal safety inspections be carried out on landscaped areas, verges or other grassed areas within the road boundaries;

(v) that a proactive approach should be taken in encouraging the reporting of safety defects primarily by advertising and promoting the use of CLARENCE;

(vi) that authority be given to the Director of Roads to introduce other measures to encourage the reporting of safety defects by Councillors, Council employees, school pupils, the general public and other road users;

(vii) that the ROADSTER computerised inspection system be used for the recording, managing and administering of safety defects;

(viii) that the following target repair times be adopted:-

(a) immediate response for emergency defects;

(b) 24 hours for priority 1 defects;

(c) 72 hours for priority 2 defects; and

(d) programmed routine maintenance for priority 3 defects

(ix) that a standby rota for Tayside Contracts emergency squads be introduced to ensure a satisfactory response to emergency situations outwith normal working hours; and

(x) that each individual successful public liability claim arising as a result of a safety defect be reviewed to analyse why the Council "lost" the claim to allow corrective action to be taken as required to assist in preventing future recurrence.

(b) A92 Dundee to Arbroath Road

There was submitted Report No 244/96 by the Director of Roads setting out a number of low cost interim measures to address the problem of road traffic accidents on the A92 Dundee to Arbroath road.

The Report advised that it was essential that these issues and other possible interim safety measures were addressed in the short term whilst the feasibility, financial and preliminary design works associated with the possibility of a dual carriageway scheme between Dundee and Arbroath were being examined. The measures referred to in the Report dealt with the section of the A92 from the Dundee City Council boundary to Arbroath as it suffered from the greatest accident problems and the proposals were listed in Appendix 1 to the Report.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) that the proposals detailed in Appendix 1 to the Report be implemented at the earliest opportunity, subject to the necessary financial resources being available; and

(ii) that further interim safety measures be examined and reported on at an early date.

(c) Safe Routes to School

There was submitted Report No 249/96 by the Director of Roads discussing the safety of children on their way to school and the possibility of implementing appropriate traffic engineering measures to assist their safety.

The Report recommended that a comprehensive exercise be carried out for each school in Angus to establish what was happening in the roads surrounding the schools. An inventory of existing signing and lining would also be carried out and other factors such as the roll of the school, traffic volumes, accident numbers, existing speed limits, etc would be established. Given the current limited staff and financial resources available, a prioritised programme of action would require to be prepared and a further report submitted to this Committee once the particular improvements and measures had been identified.

Having heard a number of members on the dangers associated with obstacles on pavements and roads, the Committee welcomed the proactive role taken by the Director of Roads with regard to road safety, and agreed that he be instructed:-

(i) to carry out a comprehensive study of road safety around all the schools in Angus in order to identify possible improvement measures which could be implemented; and

(ii) to compile a prioritised list of these measures and submit a programme of works to a future meeting for approval.

7. THE ASSESSMENT AND DESIGN OF PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS

There was submitted Report No 246/96 by the Director of Roads considering two Scottish Office reports which altered the criteria used in justifying pedestrian crossings and recommending that all existing and new requests should be considered in accordance with the advice contained therein.

The Report advised that the Scottish Office reports covered, in a very comprehensive manner, the factors to be taken into account in assessing the need for crossing facilities and their design, installation and operation. The criteria were much less restrictive than before and would lead to far more crossings being justified. This would help to improve conditions for pedestrians. However, due to the large number of requests and limited funding available, these would required to be prioritised. Accordingly, all existing and new requests (as outlined in Appendix A to the Report) would require to be considered in the light of the new criteria.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) that all requests for pedestrian crossings be assessed on the basis of the guidelines contained in the Scottish Office reports;

(ii) that existing requests be reassessed and a further Report brought back to this Committee; and

(iii) that it be noted that additional financial provision as appropriate would be considered in the next review of the Financial Plan.

8. ROAD MAINTENANCE ANNUAL CONTRACTS - PERIOD 1 APRIL 1996 TO 31 MARCH 1997

There was submitted Report No 245/96 by the Director of Roads recommending the use of the tenders accepted by the former Tayside Regional Council for road maintenance annual contracts for the period 1 April 1996 to 31 March 1997.

The Report advised that the Regional Council had obtained rates on an annual basis from approved contractors for road maintenance works in accordance with the County Surveyors’ Society Annual Tender documents. Tenders had been accepted on the understanding that the lowest price pertaining at the time of requirement determined the supplier, subject to availability and in anticipation of local government reorganisation were obtained on the basis of supply areas divided among the new unitary authorities. It was therefore proposed that Angus Council continue to operate these arrangements for 1996/97.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) that the road maintenance annual contracts which had been accepted on behalf of Tayside Regional Council by its Roads and Transport Committee on 27 February 1996 should be adopted for use by Angus Council; and

(ii) that the Director of Roads be authorised to arrange for works to be carried out under these contracts on the basis of the lowest price pertaining at the time of requirement.

9. TPU CONSORTIUM - AWARD OF CONTRACTS

There was submitted Report No 247/96 by the Director of Roads advising that the Tay Premium Unit (TPU) Consortium had taken over responsibility for the maintenance and management of trunk roads in the area from 1 April 1996.

The General Manager for the TPU Consortium had written to all authorities associated with the TPU contract requesting that individual Heads of Service be delegated authority to award trunk road contracts. Accordingly, the Report recommended that the Director of Roads be delegated powers to award contracts to either Tayside Contracts or private sector contractors for works associated with trunk roads in Angus.

The Committee agreed to delegate the responsibility for the award of contracts in the range £100,000 to £3m associated with the TPU Consortium to the Director of Roads.

10. TEMPORARY TRAFFIC ORDERS

There was submitted and noted Report No 224/96 by the Director of Law and Administration advising that, at the request of the Director of Roads, a Temporary Traffic Order had been made in respect of footpaths at West End Park and near Lochside School, Montrose for a period of ten months from 17 April 1996 for the purpose of the construction of the Montrose Inner Relief Road.

11. ARBROATH HARBOUR JOINT CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE

There was submitted Report No 269/96 by the Director of Roads advising that Tayside Regional Council, in managing the operation of Arbroath Harbour, had consulted with and involved those directly affected by operations in the harbour area through the mechanism of a Consultative Committee of the Council’s Roads and Transport Committee. The Report outlined the administrative arrangements connected with the Committee and recommended the adoption of a similar system of consultation in respect of management of the harbour’s activities for Angus Council.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) that arrangements essentially similar to those utilised by the former Tayside Regional Council be continued for the operational management of Arbroath Harbour whereby a Joint Consultative Committee was constituted with the composition and remit described in the Report;

(ii) that Councillors Allan, Gibb, King (as local member), Milne, Shand and Speirs be appointed to the Arbroath Harbour Joint Consultative Committee and that Councillor Allan be appointed as Chairman; and

(iii) that the Director of Roads correspond with the other bodies represented on the Committee seeking their nominations of the six other members representing the users.

12. A92 DUNDEE TO ARBROATH - PROPOSED DUAL CARRIAGEWAY - FINANCIAL EVALUATION/ENGINEERING STUDY

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of the meeting of Angus Council held on 24 January 1996, when it was agreed to the further investigation of a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) approach to the procurement of the dualling of the A92 between Dundee and Arbroath, there was submitted Report No 291/96 by the Director of Roads proposing the engagement of consultants to provide financial and engineering services in respect of the investigation. Scottish Enterprise Tayside had agreed to make a financial contribution to this proposed study, the estimated cost of which was approximately £60,000. The estimated cost to Angus Council would be approximately £30,000 and could be met from the 1996/97 capital allocation for the project.

Having heard Councillor Hudghton in regard to a recent deputation from Angus Council to Mr George Kynoch MP on a range of financial issues including the urgent need for funding for the upgrading of the A92, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to instruct the Director of Roads to invite tenders for financial and engineering services associated with further investigation into the possibility of a PFI approach to the dualling of the A92 between Dundee and Arbroath;

(ii) to note that Scottish Enterprise Tayside had agreed to make a financial contribution towards the proposed study;

(iii) to note that Dundee City Council had been approached with regard to a contribution for their section of the A92, being approximately 10% of the proposed commission cost;

(iv) to approve the pre-selection of 6/8 consultants from the List of Consultants previously approved by Tayside Regional Council, with input from Scottish Enterprise Tayside as appropriate; and

(v) to note that a further report would be submitted prior to 15 June 1996 which was the last date that bids could be submitted (for the year 1997/98) to the Scottish Office for "challenge funding" associated with a PFI bid, should the Committee wish to adopt a possible PFI route to procurement.

13. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved, in terms of Standing Order No 27(2), that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of paragraph 14 below to avoid the disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Paragraphs 6, 8 and 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 7A to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

14. ARBROATH HARBOUR - DREDGING TO REMOVE SILT ETC

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of the meeting of the Roads Committee held on 11 October 1995, there was submitted Report No 250/96 by the Director of Roads advising that tenders had been invited and received by the former Tayside Regional Council for dredging works in both Arbroath and Perth harbours for the removal of silt and marine deposits for the three year period 1996 to 98 inclusive. The Report detailed the various tenders received and recommended the acceptance of the lowest.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to accept the individual tender for Arbroath harbour by Moray Council (formerly Grampian Regional Council) in the amount of £84,650;

(ii) to note that the estimated outturn cost was £87,750, which would be spread over three years (£29,750 in 1996/97, £29,000 in 1997/98 and £29,000 in 1998/99);

(iii) to note that, in future years, there could be financial advantages by inviting tenders for the dredging of the harbour in combination with other bodies responsible for similar works; and

(iv) to note the need for dredging at Arbroath Harbour on an ongoing basis for the foreseeable future.