West Lothian roads praised by Scottish Road Works Commissioner

Friday September 15th 2023

Almondvale Road in West Lothian

Almondvale Road, Livingston in West Lothian.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Stuart Sommerville

West Lothian has been listed among the top ten Scottish council areas with the best roads.

The Performance Committee heard earlier this week that West Lothian is ranked ninth out of 32 Scottish councils for overall road condition.

And one councillor claimed this week you can feel the quality of the road as you drive into the county from Edinburgh.

The Scottish Road Works Commissioner praised the performance of the council in managing works the road network, councillors on the Environment and Sustainability Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel (PDSP) heard.

The Commissioner monitors performance, promotes and encourages good practice by both utility companies and roads authorities.

The main objectives are to shorten the time taken for works, improve coordination between councils and utilities and monitor how well roads are reinstated when work is completed.

Detailing a review of the council’s management of road works by the Commissioner, Kenneth Brown, Roads Network Manager for the council told the meeting: “Thanks to the hard work of the utilities team we have been rated well managed for the third consecutive year. The report also highlights areas for improvement and I’m pleased to report we have already taken the necessary steps to make those improvements.”

Conservative Alison Adamson said: “I draw comparisons all the time between West Lothian and Edinburgh. I was driving through Edinburgh at the weekend and I was absolutely shocked at the state of the roads there.

“You could actually feel the difference coming back through the [Almond Valley railway] viaduct [ over the A89 at Broxburn] back into West Lothian. It actually felt different, the quality of the road it actually felt different.”

Broxburn councillor Diane Calder, SNP, highlighted the issue of utility companies leaving traffic lights in place in her ward when work was either complete or was not being carried out, and asked what the council did to monitor and evaluate the work carried out by utilities companies.

Mr Brown explained that the council had a dedicated officer who inspected the works of utility companies

He added: “We have the stick to use which is the ability to issue fixed penalty notices if they overrun or leave traffic measures lying around on site.”

He added: “In general there is a lot of utility work going on across West Lothian. The vast majority of utility companies do cooperate with us but obviously there are outliers.”

The Commissioner said improvements were needed in updating public records information on a streets gazetteer and on the underground pipe and cables network which is available on the national register of road works.

In his report Mr Brown said that both records had fallen behind “due to difficulties recruiting an experienced engineer to our utilities team.” The records have now been updated.

Mr Brown added: “This is the result of the on-going efforts by all the staff involved and was achieved despite the resource problems. We now have a full utilities team who are addressing the specific actions raised.”

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