Fifers have been warned of worsening road conditions over the next five years if there is no significant investment to fix thousands of pot holes.
A combination of budget cuts and the beast from the east left the region with a backlog of defects and the deterioration is expected to continue because of a further reduction in funding.
New data released by roads officials on Thursday has been branded “an unfolding disaster” and councillors have been urged to listen to advice or face massive problems in the future.
A report by roads and transportation manager Derek Crowe to the council’s economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation committee showed 24,734 road defects were reported to the local authority in 2017/18.
This was an increase of more than 2,000 compared to the previous year.
Just over 76% of the worst defects were dealt with in the target 24 hours, compared to 94.5% in 2016/17, and just two thirds of category two problems were repaired within five days – down from 79.5%.
The roads maintenance budget for the next five years is £11 million less than for the previous five.
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Mr Crowe said: “The number of road defects has increased. In addition, our performance in repairing them has decreased.
“Both issues have been impacted by the very long winter and the particularly severe red and amber conditions in February and March.”
Mr Crowe said the council started the financial year with a backlog of 10,600 potholes – 6,000 more than last year – and added: “There will be a bit of a catch-up and we’ll see how that goes.”
The officer described the performance as disappointing but said: “It’s the same team who are doing winter gritting and snow clearing who do repairs.
“We gave our priority to winter gritting.”
He said a new project entitled Find and Fix was being trialled, combining inspection and repairs teams, in a bid to close the gap and added: “It’s early days but we have high hopes for it.”
He warned however: “Based on the current budget scenario, it is expected that road conditions will deteriorate and road defect numbers will rise in the medium to long term.
“However there is an opportunity to review the capital plan before then and consider the case for sustained investment in Fife’s road infrastructure.”
The Lib Dems said they had warned of deteriorating roads when they called for £10m of investment when the budget was set in March.
Councillor Jane Ann Liston said: “The data shows an unfolding disaster, just as we predicted.”
Labour councillor Colin Davidson added: “The underlying sub-text in the report is if we don’t invest in roads we’ll have massive problems in the future. We need to consider these challenges and listen to what our roads team are telling us.”