14 January 2013

Northamptonshire County Council is set to increase road repairs by injecting new Government cash into improving highways infrastructure.

Recent heavy rainfall has caused considerable damage to the county’s roads and with the current severe winter weather, the county council believes there will be further deterioration.

In recent years the authority has adopted a more proactive approach to road repairs and this has limited the damage the extreme weather has caused. However more work is needed to keep pace with the increased deterioration of the network.

The Government has made £3.7million available for the maintenance over the next two years – an additional amount to the current budget of £16m the authority spends on preventative highways repairs each year.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: “We very much welcome this extra money from the Government which is part of a nationwide investment with the aim of helping councils to fund the repair and maintenance of roads which are experiencing increased deterioration due to successive severe winters and the recent heavy rainfall.

“We will use this extra money to continue with our good work of preventative repairs which extends the life of roads and therefore reduce the need for future full structural reconstruction works which can cost up to 10 times more.

“In this way the county council is able to improve value for money and treat more of the road network.”

The Government has made £2,457m available in 2013/14 with a further £1,315m on offer for the financial year 2014/15.

Severe weather is the enemy of the road network. Fluctuations in temperature during very cold conditions can break up the road surface as water expands when it turns to ice.

However there is no respite with mild, wet weather as surface water can also damage highways as vehicle tyres can compress water to such an extent, the increased pressure breaks up the carriageway.

The county council’s highways network covers about 4,100km (2,500 miles), over half of which is on the unclassified road network that are mainly the local roads in the areas where people live.