The War Department should contribute to road repairs

Berkshire County Council’s Highways and Bridges Committee tackled the thorny question of who was to pay for damage to local roads caused by heavy army traffic.

MILITARY TRAFFIC

In connection with the claim against the War Department for damage to main roads by military traffic, the following estimates were, at their request, submitted to the Road Board:

Ascot to Wokingham Road: Resurfacing sides with tarmac in place of granite, £1541
Wokingham to Reading Road: Ditto, £2394
Bath Road, Reading to Hungerford: Ditto, £3544
Bath Road, Hungerford to Wilts county boundary: Strengthening foundations and resurfacing with tarmac, £4578
Total £12,057

After consideration the Board came to the conclusion that it would be reasonable for the War Department to make some contribution to the proposed expenditure, but pointed out that the works, if carried out, would not only provide the Council with better roads than those at present existing, but would also anticipate, for a number of years, works of renewal which, in the ordinary course, would have to be provided for in maintenance account.

The Road Board state that if the Council will undertake to carry out the works … the War Department will make a contribution of £2800 in settlement of the Council’s claim. In addition to this contribution the Board will be prepared – subject to the approval of the Treasury – to make a grant to the Council, out of the Road Improvement Fund, of £4050, and to advance the balance of £5207 by way of loan, free of interest, repayable by five annual instalments.

As the matter was urgent the Road Board were informed on 24 June, 1916, that the Council would be prepared to carry out the works mentioned in the estimates upon the terms offered…

Reading and Eversley road.
Owing to the heavy military traffic, the main road from Reading through Shinfield and Arborfield has suffered considerable damage. The road has been inspected by the Engineering Inspector of the Road Board; and an estimate of the necessary repairs is being prepared with a view to a claim being made on the Military Authorities.

MILITARY REQUISITIONS

A further requisition has been received from the Military Authorities for the improvement of a private road at Ascot for military purposes at a cost of £92, and the works re being carried out by the committee in accordance with the general authority given to them by the Council. The estimate has been forwarded to the Finance Committee.

Payments to Sub-surveyors.
As these military requisitions throw a considerable amount of extra work on the Sub-surveyors, the committee have asked the Finance Committee to consider whether a proportion of the 10 per cent allowance to the County Council by the Road Board for administrative expenses should be paid to the Sub-surveyors….

WORKMEN’S WAGES

In consequence of the higher wages which are now being paid to workmen generally throughout the county, the committee have considered it advisable to recommend that an advance of wages be made to lengthmen and men employed with the tarring and roller gangs, for the period of the war….

C A Ferard, Chairman
8 July, 1916

BCC Highways and Bridges Committee report (C/CL/C1/1/19)

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