£201m fund for road maintenance and pothole repairsFri, 12/04/2019
Central Government has revealed plans to offer a new fund to help local authorities improve road surfaces.
ITV News reports:
More than £200 million will be allocated to English councils to improve road surfaces, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
Local authorities will share a £50 million fund towards pothole repairs and flood resilience, while £151 million will be handed out to reward examples of best practice.
The DfT calculated that the money could resurface more than 1,000 miles of road.
It said the investment comes from the £6.6 billion the Government is providing for local road improvements in the six years to 2021.
The DfT is also funding research to develop ways of preventing potholes through new road surface materials or repair techniques such as 3D printing.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Every motorist knows that potholes have been a problem in the last few years. That is why the Government is continuing to step up its funding to local authorities to address this.
“It is now up to highways authorities to innovate and use new technologies to solve the problem.”
A report published last week warned that councils in England and Wales would need to spend nearly £10 billion over a decade to bring all their roads up to scratch.
The study by the Asphalt Industry Alliance found that the number of potholes repaired by local authorities rose by more than a fifth last year, roughly in line with an increase in highway maintenance budgets.
AA president Edmund King said: “Recent increases in funding means that the country is beginning to find its way out of the road rut.
“This £201 million road repair fund and a milder winter presents an opportunity to begin to catch up on the backlog.
“But this funding needs to be sustained to make meaningful inroads to improve the condition of our highways.”
Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “Potholes are the scourge of all road users and this funding is good news to help councils repair them and pioneer innovative ways to stop them forming in the first place.
“While innovation will help councils who are fixing a pothole every 17 seconds, funding challenges remain for local authorities to deal with long-term maintenance of their local roads and address a backlog of road repairs which has risen to nearly £10 billion to provide better roads that are safer and more resilient to constant use.
“This is why we have called on the Government to also invest the equivalent of 2p of existing fuel duty to bring our roads up to scratch.
“Long-term funding will help to avoid more costly short-term repairs. The Government needs to address this in the forthcoming Spending Review.”
The fact that this new funding will be distributed alongside new research into the prevention of potholes offers an optimistic outlook for the future of our roads. But whether this will result in long-term improvement remains in question.