Thousands of potholes to be filled

Ilkley Gazette: Potholes that have arisen from the snowfall that the area has just had. AG rep Newsdesk (7572219) Potholes that have arisen from the snowfall that the area has just had. AG rep Newsdesk (7572219)

THOUSANDS of potholes in the region's roads will be filled by next year as part of a “massive investment”, the government has pledged.

Bradford Council has been handed almost £1m from a new “pothole repair fund” – enough to shore up 17,000 craters in the district, the Department for Transport (DfT) claimed, while LeedsCity Council has been awarded £1.57 million, enough to fill in 29,000 potholes.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Potholes are the bane of all our lives and the funding announced today is an important step in ridding our roads of this menace.

“By building, repairing and renewing our key infrastructure we will ensure the future growth and prosperity of this county.”

In total, councils across England are awarded £168m, including £819,691 for Calderdale and £769,661 for Kirklees.

Bradford Council - which put in a bid for the money - declined to say whether it believed its £949,043 allocation would plug 17,000 holes.

Councillor Val Slater, the executive member for transport in Bradford, said: “We are pleased that we have got this money. It will go with the amount we already put into repairing pot holes in the district.

“It will allow us to make a good start in tackling some of the problems but is not enough to repair all the pot holes.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s executive member for transport and the economy, said: “We are pleased that, following a rigorous application process, our bid for a share of government funding designated for pothole repairs has been successful.

“Leeds has been allocated just under £1.6 million and, whilst delivering the additional work will put extra strain on resources we are confident we can meet the timescale set by the government of March 2015.

“Leeds has a total road network of around 3,000 kilometres and we currently estimate the backlog of repair work at over £90 million. Whilst this £1.6 million is welcome it falls a long way short of the investment required to bring our heavily used roads back into peak condition. Without continued and increased investment potholes will continue to appear.”

The repair fund was set up after town halls warned the country was on the brink of a pothole crisis because of harsh government cuts and severe winters.

One estimate put the bill for bringing Britain's roads back up to scratch at a whopping £10.5 billion, with the risk of road closures rising.

A recent study found that the number of motorists claiming for pothole damage soared by 79 per cent last year.

And councils have paid £2.5m in compensation to drivers, settling 32,600 claims over the past financial year.

The DfT said the latest allocations were a slice of more than £24bn earmarked for the road network between 2010 and 2021 - the biggest investment since the 1970s.

Councils have been urged to bring in specialist machinery or set up dedicated crews to fix potholes quickly, or prevent them from appearing in the first place.

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