The government's promised pothole funds still leave a gaping hole to be filled. £418,000 has been promised this year and next, but repairs to the worst existing road damage are estimated to cost £10m.
The government has announced that £8.3bn previously budgeted for the now cancelled HS2 project will be divided between local councils across the country over the next 11 years, to be spent on road maintenance. Local councils estimate that the cost of repairing the backlog of existing damage to roads is closer to £14bn. With continued underfunding this will only grow.
In order to get the best long-term value for money, the Lib Dem led council in Wokingham Borough is not only repairing existing road damage, it is investing in a range of preventative treatments to prolong the life of road surfaces. The additional funding of £418,000 for Wokingham for this year and next, although welcome, falls a long way short of what is needed to even fix existing damage, never mind ensuring our roads are fit for the future.
Councillor Paul Fishwick, Executive member for active travel, transport and highways said:
“There has been over a decade of underfunding of local road maintenance by this government which will not be addressed by these funds. It is good to see the government beginning to recognise its responsibility for this, but it is far too little and too late.
“Here in Wokingham, the annual assessment of our roads shows that around 5% of our road network is of great concern. Resurfacing of these alone is estimated to cost £10 million.
“What the Conservative government has promised is completely insufficient to repair existing damage and ensure roads are treated to prevent future damage.”