Road repair backlog will take ‘40 years to clear’

Roadworks due to start in Northampton on Monday.
Roadworks due to start in Northampton on Monday.

Current levels of government funding means it will take ‘40 years’ to repair our roads, according to a pothole campaigner.

Northants County Council received a £3.3 million government cash boost this week for road repairs in recognition of its ‘proactive’ approach to maintenance.

But Brackley Town councillor Mark Morrell – who campaigns for road resurfacing on social media as Mr Pothole – said this is just scratching the surface of a problem which needs billions of pounds to resolve.

The county-wide improvement works will include resurfacing and patching on both paths and roads but Mr Morrell thinks that only accounts for one per cent of what truly needs to be done.

He said: “The reality is that the extra £100 million is just for 28 days worth of work – it would take 40 years to clear the backlog.

“It’s good the government has recognised there are problems, it’s the start of opening the door.

“But the £12 billion backlog isn’t going away – it depreciated by £1.5 billion last year.”

However, Mr Morrell is pleased campaigning on Twitter and Facebook is applying pressure on the government to fork out pothole funding.

Mr Morrell confirmed Brackley works will include Manor Road and Beaumont Crescent before the end of the year.

St Peter’s Road and Old Town carriageway resurfacing is then planned for January.

Michael Clarke, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and environment, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that this money has been made available to us and it emphasises that our proactive approach to highways repairs is nationally recognised.

“This award has allowed us to bring forward a programme of area-wide improvement works focussed within residential areas that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible this year.

“We are committed to improving the county’s highways network, whilst at the same time achieving value for the taxpayer.”

To secure funding, the county council had to submit a list of recommended locations and state the outcomes.

It then had to agree to carry out the work in the least disruptive way to residents and provide progress reports to both people affected by the works and the government.

The county council will be contacting people in the affected areas in the days prior to work but it is normally carried out under a road closure between 8am and 5pm.