Extra £3m to tackle county’s potholes after snow and ice
Council’s roads chief say funding not enough to bring highways back to previous condition
Hampshire County Council has been allocated £3m from a Government fund to help fund road repairs, including potholes.
The county council’s executive member for environment and transport, Rob Humby, said: “We welcome the news that the Government has recognised the damage caused to local roads by the recent severe weather.
“However, with our budgets already under pressure, we estimate we would need around three times as much as we have been allocated to restore the roads to the condition they were in before the snow and ice – and, following years of reduced council funding and rising demand, that was far from ideal.
“One-off funding is welcome, but it’s not going to solve the long-term problem of deteriorating local roads.
“As long as the Government continues to prioritise funding for motorways and trunk roads looked after by Highways England at the expense of the local network looked after by councils, then the roads and footways which people use every day in their cars, on buses, on bikes or on foot will continue to decline.”
This cash injection comes a week after Hampshire Highways launched extra teams of ‘pothole busters’ to tackle the worst of the damage caused by the recent severe cold snaps.
Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry said: “Safety comes first – which is why we have extra gangs out on the ground, as soon as possible after the snow and cold weather, to start tackling potholes on our roads.
“Hampshire Highways gangs are using pre-prepared material, which doesn’t need any mixing on site and is specially designed to work in cold and damp conditions.
“This means the gangs can fix more potholes each day than by conventional methods.
“However, these won’t all be long- term repairs.
“For many years in Hampshire, we have been investing an extra £10m annually into our planned maintenance Operation Resilience programme.
“This approach is more effective than reactive repairs and is designed to make the roads more resilient to the impact of heavy traffic and severe weather.
“While it is successful in managing the condition of the roads, the money only goes so far, and the recent cold weather has certainly added to the damage and deterioration of the roads.”