£2bn roads revamp hailed despite concerns

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THE £2 billion scheme to revamp Sheffield’s crumbling roads will be the city’s ‘biggest-ever’ public works project – but concerns have been raised about the type of surfacing which may be used.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for environment and transport, said the private finance initiative was ‘a massive project at a time when we have a lot of bad news with cuts’ and was a ‘positive story’.

In total, more than 1,200 miles of highway will be resurfaced, 65,000 streetlights replaced and about 15,000 roadside trees replaced over five to seven years.

The 500 workers in the council’s Street Force department will be transferred to a private company to be chosen for the project and 100 new jobs created.

However, British Horse Society access officer Rhiannon Owen, of Fulwood, is concerned about what surfacing is used.

The council has been using stone mastic asphalt for roads in recent years, because it is cheap to lay and long-lasting,

However, it can be slippery for horses.

Rhiannon said: “It’s a legitimate nationwide concern.”

Coun Bramall said: “The preferred bidder for the contract will be chosen in April.

“The surfacing to be used has not been decided. We will take concerns into account.”

Work is due to start in August or September.