Cheshire East Council is to get a huge ‘double cash boost’ to bolster its drive to improve the Borough’s roads.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that Cheshire East’s share of the £103.5m pot to deal with the damage caused by the severe weather of recent months is £1.25m.
This is an emergency payment from the Government to help with road repairs following the wettest winter on record, and will pay for the repair of 3.3 million potholes nationwide.
On top of this money being shared out to councils, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in last week’s Budget that another £200m will be provided for pothole repairs over the financial years 2014-16.
Cheshire East Council’s share of a similar amount over 2013-15 was £2.2m.
The DfT money is being distributed now to ensure that repairs can be started as soon as possible, so that the majority of the damage to be fixed ahead of the summer holidays.
Cheshire East’s highways team is working hard to radically improve the Borough’s highway network and repaired more than 56,000 potholes in 2013. The initial 50,000 target for the year was achieved during the summer.
Councillor David Topping, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of environment, welcomed the news of extra funding and said: “This is welcome news that will give us extra resources to commit to tackling potholes and improving our roads.
“Cheshire East continues to invest in its highways and had already set aside around £1.5m to ensure that the network is kept in a safe and serviceable condition through the year for our residents and visitors.
“We expect to have to repair around 27,000 potholes per year but, as our investment in improving the highways continues, this number should fall.
“In addition, the number of customer-reported potholes is down from a peak of 3,640 in Jan 2013, to around 782 in Jan 2014, and also similarly we have seen a significant drop in the number of claims received – down from 270 in Jan 2013, to just 34 in Jan 2014.
“However, there is no room for complacency and we will continue to monitor the roads and prioritise works accordingly.
“The Chancellor’s announcement that all councils will share in a £200m boost to the money available for pothole repairs is more great news for road users and this Council. However, at this time, Cheshire East has not been informed about its share.
“The number of potholes repaired per day varies since it is very much weather dependent and a seasonal activity. The number can rise to 100-plus per day, when we experience rain or freezing conditions.
“The highways team carry out regular safety inspections and any defects recorded are dealt with quickly. Currently, we get around 400 reports of potholes or defects a week – but the number will fall through spring and summer periods.
“In addition, Cheshire East has invested £25m to make major improvements to the condition of the road network, through its Highways Investment Programme.
“The teams have already successfully delivered £14m of benefits and will be working over the next few months to deliver the remaining £11m.”
To report a pothole or fault on a road, use the online service via the Council’s website at: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk
Alternatively, ring the highways team on 0300 123 5020.