The Department for Transport (DfT) has given details of how councils are spending the extra £420m for local road maintenance announced in the Budget, including repairing a historic bridge.
Responding to the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey 2019, which found that recent increases in highway maintenance budgets appear to be stemming the decline of local roads, the DfT gave seven examples of local initiatives, which it said were funded by a share of the £420m.
The additional cash was required to be spent during the current (2018/19) financial year, a deadline that posed a challenge for councils.
The DfT said that Dorset County Council has used the cash for a Nu-Phalt infra-red patcher, which it said was cheaper than the traditional machine. The council has also increased its programme of premium surface dressing, which improves skid resistance to help road safety.
The funds have also been used to complete essential repairs to the historic Grade II listed Wool Bridge (pictured), which was damaged in a storm in 2018, the DfT said.
In January, Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset’s cabinet member for the natural and built environment, said the council would be treating more of the county’s damaged roads, citing additional funding approved by the council in September ‘alongside extra money from the Department for Transport’.
The DfT said Staffordshire CC spent its share of the cash on resurfacing, redressing, pothole and drainage repairs, while Oldham Council has bought a JetPatcher to repair potholes among other works
North East Lincolnshire Council, with its partner ENGIE, has introduced a thermal road repair system which heats and recycles the existing road surface – ‘the end result is a strong thermos-bond between the new material and existing surface with reduces potential future weak points preventing water ingress’.
Two North East councils are focusing on unclassified roads. Durham CC is spending 90% of its cash on resurfacing unclassified roads in rural and urban areas, while South Tyneside Council has spent its extra money on local unclassified roads – ‘these are the roads which generate the most complaints,' the DfT said.