Around 9,000 potholes will be fixed as part of £15.5m road repair work on Staffordshire’s roads
Around 9,000 potholes will be fixed as part of a £15.5 million repairs blitz on Staffordshire’s roads.
Staffordshire County Council through its contracting partner Amey. is planning to spend the sum in 2022/23 in order to tackle its maintenance backlog and reduce the impact of a ‘significant’ reduction in its highways funding from the Government.
The council saw its Government grant for highways maintenance cut by £8.7 million to £25.1 million in 2021/22, and it expects to receive a similar amount for next year.
Council chiefs say that improving the county’s 4,000 miles of roads is one of their top priorities, but maintaining the network is ‘very challenging’ due to reduced Government funding and rising costs.
The extra £15.5 million spend in 2022/23 is due to be spent in the following ways:
£5 million on minor capital maintenance, including 9,000 additional pothole repairs (on top of the 35,000 done in a typical year), surface treatments on 40 miles of highway to prevent future potholes, and additional drainage repairs;
£500,000 on customer service improvements, including upgrades to the council’s ‘digital front door’;
£4 million on tackling the ‘post-winter workstack’, which will see around 9,000 repairs to large defects in the first few months of the year;
£1.5 million on developing the customer-focused ‘right first time’ approach through a series of pilots;
And £4.5 million of investment, including structural patching for future preventative maintenance, and repairs to ‘life expired roads’ at key gateways into major towns.
Cabinet members at the county council will discuss the proposals when they meet on Wednesday next week (March 16).
David Williams, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Improving our highways is one of the top priorities for Staffordshire people, and good roads are vital for communities and businesses to thrive.
“Maintaining and improving Staffordshire’s 6,000km of highways is very challenging, especially in light of rising costs and increasing road usage. This proposed extra investment will help keep our roads in good condition, as well as funding major projects that will help the connectivity of our county.
“However, we recognise that there is always more to be done and we continue to lobby central Government for the money necessary to keep Staffordshire’s roads in the condition we expect, and to ensure local communities and businesses are able to see the benefits of an improved highway network.”
The council also plans to spend £12.8 million on day-to-day highways expenditure in 2022/23, which will cover things like emergency repairs, grass cutting and winter maintenance.
County councils have seen their road maintenance funding cut by a combined £300 million compared to two years ago.
The County Councils Network, while welcoming the fact that funding will not be cut further this year, says the current allocations are not enough.
Martin Hill, devolution spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said: “Faced with rising costs, particularly with inflation at a 30-year high, councils will therefore continue to face difficult choices in prioritising road improvement works with reduced overall funding.
“We will continue to urge for funding levels to be restored to 2020/21 levels. The Government receives £34 billion in taxes from motorists – more of that should be distributed locally so that roads are kept to a good standard.”
Original source article: https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/news/stoke-on-trent-news/council-plans-155-million-pothole-6778861
Author: Phil Corrigan