LANCASHIRE’S roads are back to good health and ready to face another long winter following months of repair work by the county council’s highway teams.
Almost 10,000 potholes have been fixed in the past six months and miles of road treated to a new surface or given a fresh coat of tarmac to extend their life.
Despite tighter budgets, the authority has given top priority to road repairs after one of the deepest freezes on record last December took a severe toll on the county’s highways network. The county council has spent an extra £5m. on highway maintenance each year for the past two years, and plans to invest a further £5m. next year.
An additional £3.8m. was received from the Department for Transport this year to deal with the severe winter damage. Of this, £2m. has been set aside to repair individual potholes, with £1.8m. put into mini-resurfacing schemes where there are areas of multiple potholes.
County Coun. Tim Ashton, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Roads across the country have taken a real battering over recent winters, and though it has presented us with an ongoing challenge, we have made repairing them a real priority and invested accordingly.
“We’re on course to fix around 20,000 potholes by April, which is the same number as last year, but our crews are now doing a better job as we’ve changed our approach to ensure 90% are permanently repaired on the first visit.”
A review carried out into the way potholes are fixed has resulted in extra training for staff and new ways of approaching the task. This year crews spent more time on each repair, using better ways of sealing and compacting the tarmac to achieve a higher quality surface which will last longer.
County Coun. Ashton added: “More money is also going into full resurfacing schemes and the wider highway infrastructure, which isn’t always as visible as repairing potholes, but is absolutely essential to sustain a good transport network in the long term.”
Where there are concentrations of potholes, the county council is resurfacing short lengths of road, which is better value for money than doing individual repairs as the surface lasts longer and looks better.