Investment in region’s roads still falling short, new report claims
- Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHI
Investment in the region's roads is still falling short of the amount needed to maintain target conditions, a new report claims, as council bosses said it would cost nearly £40m to make Norfolk's roads as good as they were more than a decade ago.
The Asphalt Industry Alliance's (AIA) annual survey said the decline of local road conditions was being stemmed by councils increasing their highway maintenance budgets.
But it claimed much of the money was spent on short-term 'patch and mend' work to fill in potholes, which did not improve underlying road structure issues.
In 2018/19, councils in the east of England filled in 124,674 potholes and paid out £2.1m in compensation claims.
Nick Tupper, assistant director of highways and waste at Norfolk County Council, said: 'We have a responsibility for more than 6,000 miles of road in Norfolk and always welcome additional investment.
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'We always use the funding we receive to best effect and have been asking for additional money. This year we have spent our planned £33m on roads maintenance and also received £12.694m and £3.5m in additional government funding.
'This extra money has allowed us to resurface a further 35 roads this year and carry out patching and filling on other roads.
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'We estimate that bringing our roads network up to the level of 2007 would cost £37.9m.'
The council said the number of potholes and the priorities change on a daily basis, based on the areas that become a priority and it always strives to fill potholes as quickly as possible.
Nationally, some 1.86m potholes were filled in during 2018/19 compared with 1.53m during the previous 12 months.
Rick Green, chairman of the AIA, said: 'There are glimmers of hope, but while overall highway maintenance budgets are up, there is still a big discrepancy between the haves and have nots.
'Achieving target conditions on all categories of local roads - those that we all rely on every day - still remains out of reach.
'With the amount needed to bring the local road network up to scratch still approaching £10bn, sustained investment over a longer time frame is needed if we want a local road network that supports enhanced mobility, connectivity and productivity.'