MORE than £75m will be spent on repairing potholes on roads across Yorkshire by March next year.
The Department of Transport (DfT) has awarded six and seven-figure sums to councils across the region in the biggest government investment of its kind since the 1970s.
North Yorkshire County Council is set to get the biggest share of the dedicated repair fund, with £8.9m to spend on mending the menace to motorists.
Each local authority will have to publish quarterly progress updates on how many potholes have been repaired for their part of the deal. The move has been largely welcomed across the region, despite fears timescales may put additional pressure on councils.
Coun Richard Lewis, Leeds Council’s executive member for transport, said: “Whilst delivering the additional work will put extra strain on resources, we are confident we can meet the time-scale set by the Government.
“Leeds has a total road network of around 3,000 kilometres and we currently estimate the backlog of repair work at over £90m.
“Whilst this £1.6m is welcome it falls a long way short of the investment required to bring our heavily used roads back into peak condition. Without continued and increased investment potholes will continue to appear.”
In Wakefield, which has been awarded just over £600,000, work is set to get under way this summer.
Coun David Dagger, cabinet member for transport, said: “I am pleased that Wakefield has received its share from the government pot.
“We understand that potholes are a menace to motorists and the extra £619,000 will provide an important contribution towards bringing our roads up to scratch. It will be used to help repair potholes, improving the condition of our roads.
“Like every council in the country we face a major challenge in repairing and maintaining our roads. This money will help ease the backlog of road repairs in the short term but is still nowhere near the £68m needed to bring our roads up to perfect conditions.”
The cash is part of a £168m scheme to repair three million potholes across the nation. It comes on top of the extra £185m that the Government made available in February to help repair local roads damaged by severe weather.
Each council in England will get a share from the pot, but extra money will be given to those which demonstrate “best practice in highways maintenance”, including bringing in specialist machinery or setting up dedicated repair teams. Others which have existing funding programmes in place, such as Sheffield’s £2bn Streets Ahead scheme, are exempt.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are asking all authorities who are awarded funding to pledge to use the money to help repair potholes or to ensure that they do not appear in the first place.
“Potholes are the bane of all our lives and the funding announced today is an important step in ridding our roads of this menace.
“But it is only one part of a massive programme of investment to get our country up to speed as part of this Government’s long- term economic plan.
“By building, repairing and renewing our key infrastructure we will ensure the future growth and prosperity of this country.”