A year on since it started, results of the huge project to improve Sheffield’s highways are becoming clearer - vastly smoother roads in parts of the city and bright LED street lights being the most noticeable signs.
But now highway contractors Amey have promised to speed up the scheme by resurfacing as much as a mile a day over the coming 12 months.
The £2 billion Streets Ahead programme to lay new road and pavement surfaces and put in new streetlights is progressing on schedule, according to Amey’s operations director Chris Morris.
In the first year, work has been completed in Bradfield, Ewden Village, Effingham and Carbrook and Shiregreen.
Teams are currently out in Totley, Dore, Millhouses and parts of Crookes, Crosspool and Broomhill, and in September work will start in parts of Meadowhead, Woodseats, Beauchief and Hutcliffe Wood.
Work will take five years to complete and Amey will continue to maintain the network for the following 20 years.
Mr Morris said: “We have been building up the work rate through our first year and have completed resurfacing of 75 miles of road and 110 miles of footpaths. Some 4,000 street lights have been replaced.
“In the second year we will be ramping up our output to 180 miles a year – with a peak output of one mile a day in the summer when daylight hours are longest. That compares to about 18 miles a year before the Streets Ahead contract.”
Amey will be resurfacing 70 per cent of Sheffield’s 1,180 miles of roads – the other 30 per cent has already been upgraded in recent years. Work around the city has been divided into 108 zones.
Earlier this year Amey admitted that although it is meeting targets, other pressures such as harsh winter weather were putting a strain on finances, resulting in debts of £540,000. Changes have been made to working practices to reduce costs.
Ian Kirby, technical manager for Sheffield Council, said he was pleased with the progress so far, but admitted residents had experienced disruption.
“The project has been going better than I hoped and I am really pleased with the results,” he said.
“We appreciate there is disruption where work is being carried out but, unfortunately, we cannot get everyone to move out of Sheffield for a year while we carry out the work.”