North Yorkshire’s potholes issue is adressed
North Yorkshire County Council is currently planning its spring season of road repairs to tackle the ravages of winter.
Weather conditions since November have been significantly more wintry than in recent years and weeks of plummeting temperatures, rain sleet and snow and the need to grit the roads night after night has had a noticeably damaging effect on highway surfaces across North Yorkshire.
The County Council has already used nearly 50,000 tonnes of salt and completed over 7,000 gritting runs this winter, which exceeds the amount done in the whole of last winter.
The number of reported potholes, emergency pothole repairs and road conditions causing concern over last December and January is more than double than in the same period in the previous year. The county council has made the online reporting of potholes easier, which accounts for some of the increase.
The county council’s highways contractors continue to carry out emergency pothole repairs for safety reasons during these winter months and also drainage works to reduce standing water on the carriageway; but the bulk of the improvement works must wait until spring arrives.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Highways said:
“The deterioration is there for us all to see. Come the spring we will re-start our annual programme of maintenance and repair work when we can make inroads into the damage.
“The 2018 schedule of works includes again hundreds of roads which will be patched and dressed and others which will be planed off and completely resurfaced. Repairs will be carried out on the basis of prioritisation.”
North Yorkshire is England’s largest authority and its 6,000 mile road network connects towns, villages and market towns across vast rural areas – a distance which would more than stretch from England to Pakistan. While the County Council cannot therefore fix every defect, its annual resurfacing and patching programme is leading to an overall improvement over the medium term for principal ‘A’ roads and other heavily-used roads.
Keeping North Yorkshire’s vast roads network fit for purpose is a priority for the county council. In recent years not only has the Council maintained roads spending, bucking the national trend, it has spent more on roads than the Government has provided in revenue budget.
“Road maintenance of our vast network is a top priority and one of our greatest challenges” added Cllr Mackenzie.
The County Council will have spent £48m on road maintenance by the end of this financial year 2017/18 and in recent years it has also targeted preventative capital repairs, increasing expenditure on this in order to maximise efficiency and minimise costly reactive revenue maintenance.
In 2014, the County Council, along with the North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, committed an additional £44m over seven years for more rural roads in response to the deterioration caused by adverse weather and flooding damage. The extra money was in recognition of the importance of good highway maintenance to the local economy.
As a result, the average annual spend on the lesser used road network over 2014/15-2016/17 increased by 113% compared to 2011/12-2013/14. This enhanced maintenance investment will continue to 2020/21.