Potholes backlog cleared by council

Potholes at Doddington

Potholes at Doddington

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A huge backlog of potholes has been cleared ahead of schedule by Northumberland County Council.

Since January this year, council staff have filled in the outstanding backlog of 12,213 potholes.

Since May 2013 the council have cleared a backlog of more than 32,000 potholes.

Simultaneously, it has been carrying out normal road repair programme and cleared an additional 30,000 potholes.

However, currently there are around 30 locations across the county where there has been more serious structural damage, and these are included in the council’s capital programme, to be repaired by this autumn.

The council has been lobbying the government consistently for extra funding to help repair the large number of potholes which are a legacy of a lack of capital investment in the roads over a number of years.

Just fixing potholes is not a long-term solution but it will give the council around three years breathing space so it can put in place a longer term plan of more permanent repairs.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment said: “We have managed to secure £16.8 million in government funding over the last three years, including £2.9m announced last week.

“However, many tens of millions of pounds of capital investment will be needed to ensure the life of the roads for years to come.

“This is an issue that this council, as well as many others, will face.”

Councillor Swithenbank added: “Our workforce has worked very hard in order to clear this backlog of potholes.

“We will continue to do all we can to make the roads as safe as possible for drivers in our county.”

But Councillor Peter Jackson, leader of the Conservative group, is not impressed.

He said: “It is quite clear that the Labour-run County Council has failed in its promise to eliminate all potholes in Northumberland. Their quick jack patching has put a short term plaster over some of the holes but we know that these patches are already popping out. One spell of bad weather and we will be back to square one.

“Everyone in north Northumberland knows that our roads are in a seriously bad state, with road closures being contemplated in some areas due to the poor condition of the road structure. What is needed is a longer term rebuilding and resurfacing of our road system.

“With their mistaken claims to have fixed the problem, Labour, sitting in their offices in County Hall, are either deluding themselves or deliberately trying to mislead residents. They need to get up here and look for themselves.

“They seem happy to prioritise spending £21m on a new leisure centre and £40m on building an unnecessary new County Hall in Ashington, and yet they are not willing to put an adequate amount of capital in to maintain and improve the fabric of our roads.”

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