Artery Network | Making West Fife Fit for the 21st Century
Potholes! They are the bain of the road users existence and for the council, an extremely large expenditure in order to repair, often not only taking a hit on the budget but also causing the re-deployment of council and road maintenance staff to deal with.
Often potholes are a consequence of water ingress into joints in the tarmac from excavation works, this water subsequently freezing and the resultant expansion pushing the road and path surface apart. Add a dash of foot and vehicle traffic and the small pothole soon becomes a big issue.
Artery is a new idea based on a very old technology which will safeguard not only our road surfaces in Fife and reduce overall cost over the long term in terms of repair and resurfacing works but would create jobs, create revenue and would also make the deployment of new technologies such as high-speed broadband technologies easier to deal with.
At the moment, most of Fife is covered by BT Openreach, however, other competitors are reluctant to deploy new resources in Fife due to the complexity and cost of putting in doing the necessary excavation and rollout work, this means that in terms of deployment and service availability, Fife is behind the curve. But what if we could have our cake and eat it.
The proposal is simple, as Fife Council resurfaces roads as a consequence of potholes etc, we excavate the surface further than tarmac depth, down to a depth of approximately 5 feet, laying under the road surface a network of large sized concrete conduits, sealed to the outside environment. A network of sealed covers at road surface level at a specific distance apart. Between each of these access points, a steel cable of the appropriate length would be run centrally down the new corridor.
In a nutshell, this would allow utility providers to seek permission to use them from the Council for running and deploying their infrastructure, simply by hooking a cable carriage to the cable and pulling the appropriate cable or pipe between the access point. The ultimate consequence of this being a massive reduction in costs for utility providers, allowing them to divert such funds to the purchasing of the appropriate equipment for deployment of new technology and to pay to the council a fee based on usage to the local council which would ensure the cost of implementation and of future maintenance was covered. It would also create much-needed revenue for the council in order to fund other projects in Fife.
The ultimate consequence of this particular setup would mean that providers could make deployments and repairs to their infrastructure without the requirement to dig the road surface, ensuring the longevity of pathways and of the main road surface for the residents of Fife.
It would also have the consequence of quick access for providers reducing the time taken for customers to have work done and meaning more availability to have work done quicker. As new technologies come onto the market, it would have a further consequence of allowing cheap and rapid deployment of them putting Fife ahead of the curve in terms of keeping up with technology.
In terms of benefits to the local community here in West Fife, it is clear that when it comes to the issue of road resurfacing and of repair, we are usually the last to be looked at. This is as a direct consequence of the deployment of maintenance assets to larger populated areas. In other words, by increasing the longevity of our paths and roads we ensure better surfaces for the residents of West Fife. Not only that, we ensure that the smaller villages do not have to wait two and three years more than the larger areas in Fife for new technology. Such a scheme would, of course, allow the deployment of technologies such as Fibre to the Home and the likelihood of more providers deploying in the area allowing cheaper prices and better competition to the benefit of every resident.
If elected in May it is my intention to bring this before Fife Council in order to make West Fife the trial area for deployment if successful.