MOTORISTS and pedestrians across Sheffield will see improvements on an area-by-area basis under the £2 billion highways upgrade - though details of where work will start have not yet been revealed.
The work has been broadly welcomed, although some concerns have been voiced.
Sheffield Council chief executive John Mothersole said ‘wholesale improvements’ would be carried out on several streets at a time, with roads, pavements, verges and street lights all renewed at once.
He said: “Although some people have called for streets to be improved on a ‘worst first’ basis, it would not be efficient to work on one street in one area and another elsewhere. Work will be carried out in whole areas at a time.”
Exact plans for how the £2 billion project will be carried out were put together by both contractors on the final shortlist but Mr Mothersole said the details will now be checked before a final schedule is made public.
Checks will include ensuring any planned utility works are carried out on streets before the main improvements - so newly-laid surfaces are not dug up again.
It will take five years to make improvements to all 1,200 miles of road.
Road haulage company owner Greg Saynor, whose firm is based in Worthing Road, Attercliffe, said: “Sheffield must be the worst city in the UK to drive around. Resurfacing the roads will make a big difference to maintenance costs for our vehicles and make driving smoother.”
Steve Rich, secretary of Greenhill and Bradway Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “We are pleased the work is going to start but the question is which areas are going to be the first to receive it? Also, the council needs to make sure the money is spent equally and there are no favoured areas.”
Mick Daniels, chairman of Brushes TARA, Firth Park, added: “I’d like them to start work here! But wherever receives the work first will be the wrong place for other people. The council and contractor also need to make sure planned utility works take place before the new surfaces are laid.”
Howard Fry, secretary of Broomhill Forum, said: “Care must be taken in conservation areas to ensure valuable items such as historic kerbstones and lampposts are not lost.”
Mr Mothersole said the council has been working with both bidders to make efficiency savings from the plans so elements of the scheme which had been cut could be put back in.
They include replacing trees, and reducing from 30 to 25 years the age at which traffic lights are replaced.
Mr Mothersole also said the £1.2 billion of funding coming from private finance initiative credits - borrowed by the contractor and repaid by the state - would not be added to Sheffield Council debts, but borne by the Government.