Council vows to spend extra £15 million on district’s potholed roads

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Wakefield Council will invest £15 million in the district’s roads, if the decision is given the green light next week.

A report going to cabinet on September 11 outlines plans to invest £3 million every year until 2025, on top of the annual £3.8 million grant from central government.

This will see an overall total investment of £34 million to improve the road network during this five-year period.

The financial boost from the council will enable it to have a more proactive approach to dealing with potholes and other road issues, as well as further developing the ongoing repair and maintenance programme.

Coun Matthew Morley, cabinet member for transportation and highways said: “We know how important the road network is to our residents and businesses.

“This is why we want to make more investment available not just to repair urgent issues but also to further develop our road maintenance programme so that we can successfully manage the wear and tear on the district’s roads.

“Our approach is to apply the right type of road repair, at the right time to get the best possible value for money, whilst trying to meet the needs of our residents.

“Even with this additional investment, we will still have to prioritise the work we do but the increased funding will help us tackle issues with more focus on the impact they are having, which means people should see a real benefit from the investment.

“We are still in a difficult financial situation and continue to face even more cuts to our budget by the government, but this investment shows we are committed to listening to our residents and taking action.”

Climate change and the significant weather conditions this brings, along with an increase in traffic and years of under investment from central government, have all had an impact on the state of roads across the entire country.

In the Wakefield district there was a significant increase in potholes and other road surface problems following the winter of 2010 and the flooding in December 2015.

Last winter, in particular the unsettled period in March 2018, caused the number of road defects to triple and exposed weaker sections of the road network to further attack, accelerating their deterioration.

The total cost of achieving a road network that has all areas at an ‘acceptable’ standard would be £65 million – and the roads would then need significant continuous investment to maintain this standard in the future.

Nationally, the highway maintenance backlog is round £12 billion.

Coun Morley added: “We have to do the best with what we’ve got and I can assure residents that we will continue to invest as much as we can.

“You have our commitment that we will ensure that the work we do gives the best value for money and that we will do our best to continue to manage and improve our roads with the resources we have available.”