Managing our assets

Our highways assets are worth around £5.5bn.By keeping them in good condition we're helping to keep the public safe and reduce our maintenance costs.

We have a wide range of highways assets from street name plates to Grade II listed bridges and dual carriageways. Keeping all these assets in good condition is important for public safety but also to help reduce our ongoing maintenance costs.

Every year we spend £20m, on average, to maintain,replace, repair, install or build assets. Deciding how we do this is called our 'Highways Asset Management Policy and Strategy'.

Assets are inspected and assessed by locations and item to determine if or when they need maintenance work. We'll also decide how extensive that work will be or what materials we'll use. For example, we use a technique called Gripfibre on the grid roads which provides a good, long lasting surface and is specially designed for busy roads.

There are three 'tests' that we will use to determine an asset:

  • Condition – physical and technical state
  • Function – ability to meet needs
  • Capacity – ability to meet demand.

We work with experts in the related areas to help decide what asset management we will undertake. This is also decided by our budget. In 2012 we decided to borrow £50m to invest into highways. This meant that we could do better, long lasting repairs and maintenance rather than patch jobs which may cost less but don't last.

The majority of the Highways budget comes from the government in the form of grants and may have conditions attached to it such as the pothole fund. Some government funding is linked to the condition of our assets - if the overall condition is good, then we will receive the maximum grant amount. In 2017, this amounted to £280k.

We also received a further £3.9m following a bid to the Department for Transport’s Challenge Fund. This covered most of the A509/A422 Willen Road to Olney upgrade which cost £4.9m.