29 January 2013

With a return to milder weather Northamptonshire County Council’s highways maintenance crews will be re-focusing their attention on road repairs.

Severe winter weather is notorious for creating potholes on the network through the freeze and thaw effect of ice and water.

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.

While the county council will continue with this improved approach, some temporary repairs will be unavoidable, given the likely extent of the damage incurred.

Although the full extent of winter damage will not be known for some weeks it is anticipated that some work will be necessary.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: “Three years ago the county council started a more proactive approach to repairing the roads – taking more time to do longer-lasting semi-permanent repairs rather than doing quick, temporary ones.

“This has gone a considerable way to making the road network more resilient to winter weather but even so the recent conditions will have had an effect in some areas.

“Our maintenance crews have been working round the clock, clearing highways and footpaths of ice and snow.

“However with the current thaw conditions, highways crews will be able to focus their attention on assessing any damage to the roads and addressing it.”

It’s not just snow and ice which causes damage to the roads – heavy rainfall can also damage highways as vehicle tyres can compress water to such an extent, the increased pressure breaks up the carriageway.

Earlier this month the county council announced that the Government had made £3.7million available for highways maintenance in Northamptonshire over the next two years – an additional amount to the £16m earmarked by the county council for preventative highways repairs in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

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

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.