Extra cash to be spent on North Somerset's roads
By Prue_Reid | Monday, March 04, 2013, 18:58
AN extra £1.3 million is to be spent on improving North Somerset's roads in the next year - at the same time as North Somerset Council has stripped more than £9 million from its budgets.
Despite saving £9.7 million from this year's overall budget, the authority has earmarked £1.3 million from its coffers to improve the road network.
The extra funding will mean the authority will spent £6.6 million on highways improvements during the next financial year - £1.9 million more than in 2012/13.
The extra funding comes at the same time as a council survey revealed that only 28 per cent of people in the district were happy with the condition of North Somerset's roads.
A £650,000 slice of the cash will be spent on highways improvements while £100,000 will go on drainage schemes and an additional £180,000 will be spent on gully emptying.
It is hoped the additional drainage and gully emptying will help reduce flooding incidents encountered across the district last year.
A further £329,000 will be spent on highway repairs.
As well as the additional cash earmarked by the council, the Government has allocated nearly £1 million to the authority to spend on roads over the next two years.
North Somerset Council looks after 1100 kilometres of roads across the district, made up of 92 km of A roads, 33 km of B roads and 677 km of minor roads.
Authority leaders say that in an ideal world the council would spend £5.3 million on highways each year, compared to the £4.5 million it spent last year.
North Somerset Council executive member for highways, Councillor Elfan Ap Rees, said: "Although we will be receiving an additional million pounds from government this will not be enough to bridge the funding gap we face for road repairs.
"We have tried to keep the state of our 'A' roads above the national average but there are many minor roads and urban streets in desperate need of repair.
"This is certainly not a situation unique to North Somerset but is yet another financial challenge facing local government."
The number of pothole repair crews in the district have already been increased with four additional teams being bought in to help repair the roads.
Due to the sustained bad weather throaughout 2012 - the wettest year since records began - the number of potholes on roads across the district has rocketed.
The two man crews - which have been specifically recruited to tackle potholes - are due to start work this week and are expected to fill an average of 160 potholes a day.
Potholes are caused when water runs into hairline cracks in the road surface and freezes, forcing the cracks further apart.
People are being urged to report potholes which are causing problems on the district's highways network.
People can report potholes by ringing the council's streets and open spaces team on 01934 888802, by email at email@example.com or online at the council's website www.n-somerset.gov.uk.