RESIDENTS in Sheffield have welcomed the start of a £2 billion project to improve the city’s road network which finally got under way yesterday.
Teams of engineers will be filling in potholes, making roads smoother, repairing pavements and upgrading street lights as part of the Streets Ahead project, which started on Hartley Brook Road, Shiregreen.
Mum-of-four Lindsey Dyson, aged 26, from Shiregreen, told The Star she was happy the work was starting.
“The roads are ridiculous, there are big holes in them all,” she said. “I’d like to see them all tidy, they keep coming out to fill potholes in but the concrete falls off. I don’t think five years is long enough, though, they won’t be able to do it in that time.”
Fellow Shiregreen resident and retired steelworker Jack Warner, 83, agreed, saying: “They’ve been wanting doing for 20 years. The main roads in Sheffield are disgraceful.
“The asphalt needs lifting, they’re in a poor state.”
Coun Julie Dore, Sheffield Council leader, said the roadworks have been ‘a long time coming’, while insisting the five-year target set for the improvements was ‘achievable’.
Private contractor Amey has taken on responsibility for carrying out the day-to-day duties previously performed by the council’s Street Force team, such as unblocking gullies and gritting in winter.
And from the start of next month, Amey’s engineers will begin work on the major improvements in earnest. The firm has promised to bring Sheffield’s roads up to a ‘high standard’.
After the five years of roadworks are over, the firm has agreed to keep the network maintained for 20 years.
Coun Dore said: “We’ve waited many years for this, it’s been a long time coming. There will be some slight disruption to people’s daily lives - however, we will try to reduce that disruption as much as possible.”
She said the project was a big operation and the five-year deadline was tight, but said: “It’s definitely achievable. There will always be slight hiccups on a project of this scale.”
Amey has divided the city into zones, including 27 primary and secondary routes, in order to carry out the vast amount of work needed.
Each zone will take 15 to 20 weeks to complete and there will be between five and seven zones being worked on at any one time.
Mike Notman, Amey’s director of highways initiatives, said: “It’s a huge undertaking. There’s a lot of work to be done in five years, but we’ve planned it out. It’s going to make a huge impact on the city.”
The firm has inherited 480 former Street Force employees, as well as recruiting another 170 staff and taking on 29 young apprentices.
A roadshow is being held in The Source at Meadowhall shopping centre on Thursday, August 30, from 5pm to 8pm.
Visit www.sheffield.gov.uk/streetsahead for details.