An extra £250,000 will be spent on pothole repairs across the Bradford district this year as it emerged that money saved on gritting due to the mild winter will now go towards bringing damaged roads up to scratch.
This is on top of a £575,000 emergency payment announced by the Government late last month to help with road repairs following the wettest winter on record.
Exactly where Bradford Council will invest the cash is not yet determined, but a list of priorities will be drawn up shortly by highways bosses. Some of the £825,000 in total is likely to spent on more strategic routes, while a portion will be shared out among the Council’s five area committees – ensuring the cash is divided right across the district.
Councillor Val Slater, the Council’s executive member in charge of transport, said this was the first time money had been diverted in this way.
“It struck me when I took over responsibility for highways that if we had had a bad winter we would have to find the money from the rest of the highways budget to cover any extra,” she said.
“So if we didn’t have to buy any extra salt etc, then it would be logical to say we would like to use that money on the roads.”
“It won’t cover everything that needs doing, but it is very welcome.”
She added that an annual survey of the district’s roads would be “refreshed” by officers before any decisions were made about exactly where the money would be spent.
The last financial year’s overall road maintenance budget at the authority was £8.9m, compared to £6.5m for 2012/13.
“Along with the rest of the country, our roads are not in a very good state and it would need a very large amount of money and take some time to put them right,” said Coun Slater.
Last year, the Telegraph & Argus reported how, despite the boost in the road maintenance budget, it would not clear the backlog of work needed to bring the district’s roads up to scratch, but would only allow the Council to “maintain the condition” of the network”.
According to a survey published last week by the Asphalt Industry Alliance, the average one-off cost per authority in the region to clear the backlog of highway maintenance is £96m and that it would take an estimated 13 years.
In addition the average number of potholes filled in the last year per authority in the region is 13,565 with an estimated cost of £51 to fill one pothole.