Anger over state of Norfolk roads as council says it is ‘managing deterioration’
More than £36m would have to be spent to restore Norfolk’s highways to the condition they should be in, say council leaders who admit money is so tight they are having to “manage deterioration” of roads.
And road users have criticised the state of the county’s pot-holed roads, questioning whether the use of short term surface dressing fixes, rather than resurfacing, are good value for money.
Norfolk County Council is drawing up a new plan for managing the highways.
And officers warn: “It is recognised that the current level of funding makes the maintenance of the current condition challenging and that in most circumstances the strategy will be to manage deterioration.”
The government has not said what grants councils will get beyond 2020/21.
The council was successful in getting £3.4m for road repairs and surfacing after last year’s Beast from the East and a further £12.7m last autumn, while the Conservative council also committed to invest an extra £20m in the county’s roads.
Martin Wilby, the council’s cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, admitted: “There is a big challenge to maintain our transport infrastructure as it is at the moment.
“I am pleased, though, that we have managed to reduce the maintenance backlog from £37.9m to £36.4m, so I think we have been performing very well.
“In an ideal world, we’d like to know what we will get year by year, but that’s not the case at the moment and we have been successful at applying for grants.”
Investment in A-roads this year will see £1.1m on resurfacing, £1.9m on surface treatment, but that will change to £1.35m on resurfacing and £1.65m on surface treatment the following year.
But on smaller roads, surface treatment is used more often and road users say that ‘quick fix’ does not stand the test of time.
Rackheath-based haulier Roger Hastings said: “I think the state of some of the roads is disgusting. It doesn’t do the lorries any good.
“Years ago, when they resurfaced roads, they lasted for years, but now they break up and disintegrate more often.”
A spokesman for J Medler Haulage, based in Taverham, praised the Northern Distributor Road, but said some other roads in the county were not in the best condition. He said: “There is a lot of debris on some of the roads, with a lot of chips flying up.”
But Mr Wilby insisted the council’s use of surface dressing was the right thing to do.
Highways England, rather than the council, is responsible for the A47 and A11.