Rain could mean Norfolk roads are not repaired this year

Work to stop pot-holes appearing on some of Norfolk's roads could have to be put on hold until next year unless the rainy weather stops this summer, council officers have warned.

A programme to apply surface dressing to the county's roads is currently two weeks behind schedule because rain has prevented work being done, it has emerged.

And officers at Norfolk County Council say if the weather has not improved by August, then they will have to decide if they should curtail the work until next year.

Such a move could lead to an even bigger repair bill in the future, with the whole point of surface dressing to prevent rain causing pot-holes.

The potential problem was raised at a meeting of the county council's environment, transport and development overview and scrutiny panel yesterday, where councillors agreed to put an extra �500,000 into the surface dressing programme, bringing it up to �12.5m.

But John Joyce, assistant director for highways at the county council, said of the rain-hit programme: 'It is a bit weather susceptible and the net effect of that is we have lost something of the order of a 30 day period in terms of delivering the programme.

'The contractors are working longer days and weekends, so we have clawed back a bit of that and are now about two weeks behind, but the programme is being held up by circumstances beyond our control.

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'We will have to reach a decision point towards the end of August, when the weather tends to get worse.

'At that point, we will have to make a decision as to whether we can work a few more weeks. But if the weather takes a turn for the worse, we may have to curtail the programme. We are a little bit in the hands of the weather at the moment.'

A council spokesman said, at this stage, it was not possible to say which roads might end up not being treated if the programme is scuppered by wet weather.

Committee members agreed to take �1.2m out of the council's coffers for structural maintenance work on roads in the Fens area, which have deteriorated because of drought earlier in the year.

dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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