Wakefield: Big freeze puts bite on budget with £500,000 repair bill

The pothole repair bill is set to top £500,000 in Wakefield as the freezing winter weather continues to bite.

Council chiefs say they will have to use the cash wisely to deal with the district's most weatherbeaten roads.

And they are urging the public to help them identify crumbling roads worst hit during the recent cold snap.

This year's 0.5m-plus road repair cost - with winter far from over - is set to dwarf the 418,000 spent to repair roads in Wakefield after last winter.

Deputy council leader Coun Denise Jeffery, said: "Staff worked around the clock last month and over Christmas and New Year dealing with the snow and ice and we are now tackling the damage caused by the prolonged sub-zero temperatures.

"We have already begun to inspect the road network and five dedicated teams across the district are carrying out the most urgent safety repairs where necessary.

"It is anticipated this could cost in excess of 500,000 and although we have managed to protect this year's Highway Maintenance budget from the recent Government cuts, we will have to use the money carefully to deal with the very worst hits roads."

So far this winter, Wakefield Council's fleet of 20 snow ploughs have cleared snow from 4,000 miles of roads and has used more than 4,150 tonnes of grit on more than 14,000 miles of roads.

Coun Jeffery added: "Our teams have done a fantastic job so far and have worked around the clock to keep the district moving.

"We are delighted to have recruited 200 snow wardens now, who are all equipped with salt, shovels, tabards and gloves and who have worked incredibly hard within their local areas.

"We are also pleased that three of our parish councils in Hemsworth, South Elmsall and South Kirkby have helped by clearing roads in their own areas which are not included on our priority gritting routes."

Leeds City Council spent more than 1m dealing with pothole damage to highways after the 2009 winter and the authority expects a similar bill after this winter.