THE first tranche of the biggest engineering project ever undertaken on the Isle of Wight swings into gear next month with the start of major road resurfacing.
Sections of Whippingham Road, East Cowes; Downend at Arreton and Godshill are among 15 areas planned from September.
The long-awaited announcement by Island Roads is the start of improving virtually the entire road network over the next seven years as part of the multi million pound highways Private Finance Initiative (PFI).
It comes as pothole damage claims from motorists have quadrupled and Island Roads drafted in specialised equipment for an intensive programme of 'jetpatching’.
It coincides with the end of the main tourist season and after agreement was reached with Bardon Vectis to supply materials from its Blackwater plant instead of Island Roads having a controversial new asphalt plant at Cowes.
And it comes after problems with importing asphalt from the mainland in a trial resurfacing at Place Road, Cowes.
Island Roads said where practical, crews will work through the night to minimise the impact on road users and bear in mind disturbance to residents.
The company says it will also be unveiling winter plans for major geotechnical schemes to maintain the highway at two prominent locations prone to ground movement.
They had previously said they would prioritise the Undercliff.
Island Roads service director Paul Herbert, said: "This is the first major element of what will be a rolling programme of activities to improve the condition of our highways network."
Isle of Wight Council cabinet member responsible for highways Cllr Jon Gilbey said: "As residents are all too aware, the Island’s roads are badly in need of repair so it is welcome news that Island Roads is now ready to start this comprehensive programme of work.
"I am pleased the works are taking place after the school holidays, when the Island’s roads are at their busiest due to the influx of holidaymakers.
"Works of this scale will inevitably cause some disruption to residents, however in developing the PFI contract, the council took steps to minimise this by restricting when some of the works can take place, for example by avoiding commuter times and large events, where possible."
• Island Roads’ mobile visitor centre will be at St James’s Square, Newport, on Thursday, between 10.30am and 12.30pm when residents can find out more about the programme.
The draft programme includes works to surface sections of:
Whippingham Road, East Cowes; Pallance Road, Cowes; Medina Avenue, Newport; High Street, Carisbrooke; Station Road, Wootton; Swanmore Road, Ryde; Sandown Road, Shanklin; Arreton and Downend Road, Arreton; Kemming Road, Whitwell; Shanklin Road, Godshill; Copse Lane, Freshwater; Main Road, Newbridge; Main Road, Shalfleet.
Island Roads says it will be notifying residents and businesses directly affected by our works closer to the start dates.
• Island Roads says the initial programme of work, subject to change because of bad weather, can be seen at