Bristol’s crumbling road network has received a £1million boost to fix potholes. City council leaders are set to rubber-stamp spending the additional money from Whitehall that will focus on junctions and roundabouts that need urgent repairs.
It comes just weeks after Bristol was named the worst in the country for potholes. The extra money is part of a £200million increase in the Government’s national Potholes Fund announced in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Budget last month.
City council opposition Conservative group leader Cllr Mark Weston (Henbury & Brentry) said: “News of these extra resources is particularly welcome at this time, given the very poor state of many of our roads. This problem has been growing worse and even led to one insurance survey recently to name Bristol as the Pothole Capital of England.
“Such a finding is not only embarrassing, it creates reputational damage to the city, but also represents a very real health and safety hazard for all road users. In addition, aside from the risk to life and limb, the damage to vehicles caused by cratered road surfaces often leads to expensive insurance claims against the council.
“The authority has certain statutory obligations to provide a well-maintained highway, so this is something that really should be made a priority. Whilst much more work still needs to be done in this important area of local government responsibility, this additional funding will at least enable urgent road repairs to take place in the very worst areas, critical cases or dangerous instances.”
A report to the Labour cabinet, which meets on Tuesday, May 2, seeking approval for the work said Bristol’s share of £990,000 was from a regional award of £2.8million made to the West of England Combined Authority, which also includes South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset councils. It said potential roads in the city had been identified and would be prioritised based on their condition, volume of traffic and the number of defect repairs and complaints.
The report said Bristol City Council fixed more than 2,500 potholes a year. “The work will be targeted at sites where there is significant potholing and where we are frequently having to carry out response repairs,” it said.
“That should significantly improve the condition of those sites, impacting the local environment and reducing the number of response repairs, so that resource can be better allocated in the future.” The report said preventative maintenance was already funded for this financial year.