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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Lincolnshire highways chief calls for more money branding infrastructure spending 'a joke"

We need to invest more in Lincolnshire’s roads – but we need more money from the Government is the message from the county’s highways chief.

Coun Richard Davies, the county’s executive member for highways, says that greater investment needs to be made into Lincolnshire’s Strategic Network but to make a real difference the Government needs to give the council long-term assurances over its funding.

Lincolnshire County Council is receiving £12 million less from the government to spend on maintaining the area’s roads and has been forced to transfer £19 million from its reserves to help fund the shortfall. The county has a network of 5,500 miles of roads.

Coun Davies says the county’s roads are in a good position going into this winter but a sustained period of freezing and thawing weather could create problems – and people can do their bit by contacting MP Sir John Hayes to encourage him to lobby for more funding.

Coun Davies said: “We are focusing on rural roads as most people use these roads. But fundamentally it comes back to funding.

“If the Government is really serious about maintaining Britain’s roads then they need to give us the security of giving us a five to 10 year budget.

“As an authority we are taking money out of our reserves so what we are spending in a sense is being taken away from other service areas. We have to make those difficult decisions.

“We will continue to lobby for more money. We can’t keep taking money out of reserves that are a limited thing. We are doing our best and we need national politicians to do their bit. Lincolnshire people can help by contacting their MP.

“When I go to London you jump off a brand new underground train, air conditioned trains - and we go back to Lincolnshire and you realise how underfunded we are.”

Earlier this year, the county council had to pull £27million earmarked for the construction of the Spalding Western Relief Road to go towards the costs of other big projects due to rising costs.

Coun Davies said that he could not say when the relief road, which is due to run along the western side of Spalding to link Pinchbeck and Spalding Common to help ease congestion in the town centre, will be built.

He said: “Spalding Western relief road comes back to national funding. “Nationally we have pet projects we can find money for.

“We need to invest in infrastructure.

“In reality the way we do infrastructure in the UK is a joke. It is ridiculously underfunded.”

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