11 January 2010

Following the severe winter weather Northamptonshire County Council is set to lobby national and regional government to secure extra funding for road repairs.

It is expected that once the snow and ice has thawed highways inspections will reveal widespread damage to the county’s road network.

Roads everywhere are vulnerable in wintery weather as heavy rain, snow and frost all act to make surfaces more brittle and accelerate their deterioration.

The extra funding would not just be used for emergency repairs but would also be used for long-term planned maintenance and improvement.

After the wintery weather in February last year the council approached the government for funding to carry out emergency repairs to the county roads but so far has not received any money.

Instead the authority had to use an additional £5 million from its reserves to fund resurfacing work across Northamptonshire.

Cllr Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for environment, growth and transport said: “So far, as a county, we have stood up to the challenges that this severe winter weather has thrown our way and I’d like to thank everyone that has helped keep the county moving through this difficult time.

“We all know the amount of damage the frost and snow caused last year and we’re fully expecting the surfaces of our roads to have deteriorated at least as badly this winter.

“Putting this right will cost a significant amount of money and we simply cannot afford to keep using the money from our reserves to fund this. We need help from the government and we’d urge them to strongly consider providing this much needed cash.”

This has been one of the coldest and longest winters in many years and, as often happens during periods of severe wintery weather, the council is expecting a great amount of damage to have been caused to the roads.

The colder it gets the more brittle road surfaces become and as water seeps into cracks and expands it freezes. The expanding ice puts pressure on the surface material and causes the roads to swell up and break apart, particularly in areas where there is a lot of traffic.

People are reminded that they can report potholes by using the county council’s Street Doctor service by telephoning 0845 601 1113 or by going online at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk

However it must be noted that it will take time to carry out the repairs to road surfaces, with potholes being prioritised and repairs being carried out as quickly as resources permit.