Norfolk County Council catching up with road repairs - but weather remains a concern
Highways bosses insist they are motoring along with repairs to crumbling roads in Norfolk – and hope further bad weather will not delay work until 2013.
Norfolk County Council identified 100 A and B roads roads in need of attention during 2012/13, with almost a fifth based in and around Norwich.
Wet weather has slowed work during the summer and left workers two weeks behind schedule.
But the surface dressing programme, which aims to prevent pot-holes, is now only a week behind, boosting hopes the repairs will not have to wait until next year.
John Birchall, Norfolk County Council spokesman, said: 'We've been able to catch up some of the lost time thanks to the good recent weather and extra resource brought in by May Gurney, including working at weekends.
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'We initially hoped to finish by the end of August and now hope to complete in the first week of September. This is subject to reasonable weather – we don't expect it to be perfect. However, as we get into September we will be keeping a much closer eye on the weather. If it turns wet and cool with little prospect of improvement, we will probably halt the programme to reduce the risk of failure during the winter.
'In the past we have noticed that late surface dressing is more likely to lose its chippings over winter.'
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It has been warned delays to the surface dressing could lead to an even bigger repair bill in the future for the Conservative-controlled authority. The backlog already totals nearly �90m.
Councillors have agreed to spend �12.5m on surface dressing in this financial year, with the budget having been increased in recent months.
But George Nobbs, Labour group leader at the county council, said he had noticed pot-hole problems in his Norwich Crome division and he was disappointed there was a risk the repairs could have to wait until next year.
Mr Nobbs said: 'To hear now there's only a couple of weeks to get them done, and if we don't get them done by September we will have to wait another year, is totally unacceptable.
'The Conservatives are fond of saying the previous Labour government didn't repair the roof when the sun was shining and Norfolk County Council is not repairing the roads while the sun is shining.'