Council has potholes plan

Potholes at Doddington

Potholes at Doddington

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Northumberland County Council has spelt out its detailed plans to reduce the pothole backlog.

Severe winters and long term underinvestment has led to a substantial increase in the number of potholes over the past five years.

Between November 2012 and December 2013, there were 68,000 defects in the county’s roads and footpaths.

In the last few months the council has managed to reduce the number of potholes through investment in new methods and machinery, reducing the backlog from 35,247 outstanding repairs in May 2013 to 12,213 at the end of January.

An extra £600,000 has been allocated to accelerate the programme of pothole repairs across the county with the backlog tackled by the end of June.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment, said: “Whilst we have made significant progress, there is still a great deal to do. We are determined to clear this backlog.”

He added: “Our roads are maintained by maintenance teams based in the community who repair defects and carry out small works and drainage improvements. We currently have a team operating within each of the 14 inspection areas (there are four teams in the North, four teams in the West and six teams in the South East).

“The new funding will provide the area inspectors with additional short-term capacity to speed up repairs and ensure that rural communities, in particular, benefit from the programme. The funding will be used to enable the Jetpatchers to operate longer hours, employ additional labour and plant. Our team will continue to manage any new defects that appear from now and throughout 2014.

“The council will continue to spend its existing budget wisely and deliver improved efficiency where possible. At the same time the council will continue to compete and bid for national funding programmes, and lobby Central Government for additional resources to secure the necessary capital investment and tackle the long-term deterioration in the network.”

Residents can now follow progress in clearing the pothole backlog on a monthly basis on the Northumberland County Council website.

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