MORE than £78million will be ploughed into fixing Worcestershire’s pothole ridden roads over the next six years.
Highways chiefs say the cash boost from the Government could give them as much as £4million extra every year up until 2021 to spend on upgrading road surfaces.
From April Worcestershire County Council will get more than £15million for highways maintenance followed by almost £13.8million next year and over £13.3million the year after before remaining at about £12million from 2018/19 onwards.
Government funding for roads maintenance has been falling over the last four years with the county council seeing its annual grant cut by more than £1.7million between 2011/12 and this financial year, although additional money has been made available following severe winters and last year’s flooding.
It is the first time councils have been guaranteed road maintenance funding over such a long period of time and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said it would put an end to short-term fixes, allowing highways authorities to plan ahead.
“Roads play a significant part in everyday life. Poorly maintained local roads, blighted by potholes, are a menace to all road users,” he said.
“This huge investment is part of our long term economic plan to ensure we have a transport network fit for the 21st century.”
The Standard reported in April last year how for the first time more than half of residents were unhappy with the state of Worcestershire’s roads.
In Redditch just 31 per cent of people think roads are kept in a reasonable condition.
Coun John Smith, OBE, responsible for highways on the council, said: “This increased allocation of funds from the Department for Transport is good news for Worcestershire. We will continue to spend this money effectively to ensure we get the best value for money when it comes to repairing and improving our highways infrastructure for the county’s residents.
“More work needs to be done to understand the detail of the funding announced and we are working on this now. However, our current estimate suggests this settlement is around £3million to £4million more per year towards our Highways Maintenance funds.
“This year we have repaired more than 20,000 potholes and this work will continue to ensure all road-users can travel safely on our highways.”
Warwickshire County Council will also receive more than £67.6million as part of the deal.
More than £78million will be spent improving Worcestershire’s pothole ridden roads. Picture by Ian Dipple (s).