Leeds £124 million crumbling roads bill

Highways bosses have spent nearly �124m over the last five years.

Highways bosses have spent nearly �124m over the last five years.

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Highways bosses have spent nearly £124m over the last five years repairing crumbling roads in Leeds.

More than 50,900 potholes were reported to Leeds City Council during that time by concerned residents and highways officers.

The council has already received 9,526 reports of potholes to mend this year and that figure is expected to rise as a result of the plummeting temperatures.

But the Local Government Association has warned that the pothole problem on Britain’s roads is reaching crisis point.

They fear that Government cuts from roads maintenance budgets could see councils stripped of funding making it difficult to keep on top of road repairs.

Councillor Richard Lewis, executive member for development and economy, said: “Difficult decisions will have to be made to balance planned maintenance works with urgent repairs but we are of course looking to continue to maintain The highway network and are planning continued investment, despite reductions in central government funding.”

The number of potholes reported to the council has risen over the last five years.

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More than 9,700 pot holes were reported to the authority in 2008 but last year that figure peaked at 12,279 reports.

The authority has spent £21,299,700 during the last financial year to maintain and repair the city’s roads and footpaths.

Officials have budgeted to spend £22,210,700 during this financial year to repair and maintain the city’s roads and pavements- compared to more than £27m in 2007/08.

Coun Lewis added: “It is true that more people are reporting potholes to the council and we have been encouraging residents to do this as we welcome their reports.

“I believe this shows the level of confidence the public have in the fact that we will do something about any potholes which are dangerous.

“We have had two bad winters in recent years and we did receive government funding, which was very helpful in dealing with the damage that resulted from the extreme cold weather.

“However, with the further inclement weather we have experienced this year in the form of flooding, more damaged has been caused to road surfaces.

“Potholes can literally appear overnight.

“The impact of poor weather can be very quick and we therefore have to deal with damage in very short time scales to remove the risk of damage to road vehicles.”