There are some 55,000 kilometres of public road in Scotland. The strategic trunk road network accounts for around 7% of this total.
The trunk road network is the responsibility of Scottish Ministers, and comprises a mixture of strategic road types: rural, inter urban or urban motorways, single and dual carriageways. This includes some single carriageways which go through towns and villages.
On 1st April 1996, local government was reorganised, and the 32 present Councils replaced the former Regions, Districts and Island Areas, and assumed responsibility for the remaining 93% of the national road network.
Transport Scotland outsources most aspects of trunk roads maintenance to the private sector through contracts such as 4th Generation maintenance contract and DBFO/PPP/PFI for new roads which have been built. This means that the maintenance of the trunk roads is effectively split up between various maintenance contractors and a number of DBFO/PPP/PFI contracts for M77, M80, M74, etc. Transport Scotland will move to renewing, or extending , the existing trunk road maintenance contracts from 2018 , and there is a short window of opportunity to look at whether greater collaboration/ integration between national and local roads maintenance arrangements could be achieved. This was a recommendation of the Option 30 review.
A recent Audit Scotland report has challenged road authorities around their long term planning and resourcing for road maintenance whilst looking for evidence of progress in the delivery of Option 30. It has indicated that roads authorities should look closely at national/local collaboration as well as at collaboration at local level.
The Strategic Action Group, which oversees roads reform in Scotland meets twice yearly and consider this matter. There is, therefore, an opportunity at this time for councils to participate in shaping the future direction of the public roads sector, and to explore what options, if any, they would want to see examined to strengthen national –local collaboration around roads.
The Programme team is assisting COSLA and Transport Scotland to look at collaborative opportunities between the local and trunk road networks - those possible immediately plus longer term ones. This work is expected to be ongoing during 2016 and 2017.