Repairing Bolton’s roads to a steady state would cost £70m
Repairing the borough’s roads and getting them to a “steady state” would cost £70m, it has been revealed.
The multi-million-pound figure represents the cost of getting the highway network to a sustainable steady state – but it would not be enough to repair all road defects.
The calculation, which shows how much money is needed to fix the backlog of repairs, is seven times more than the latest cash injection by the council.
John Kelly, assistant director for highways and engineering, told a scrutiny committee about the challenges local authorities face.
He said: “We are getting wetter weather throughout the year but also lots of sun. The rain is coming down in a period of time that’s extremely short and more intense.”
Since taking over Bolton Council in May, the Conservatives have put an extra £10m towards fixing potholes and pavements across the borough.
This comes after Labour allocated £2m for the highways capital budget.
Speaking after the meeting, executive cabinet member for highways and transport, Cllr Stuart Haslam, said the council is doing all it can to mitigate the problem.
He said: “It is precisely because the roads in Bolton are so vital for the quality of life and the efficient functioning of our town that they are an absolute priority for us.
“Since we took over last May, we have allocated £12m extra funding for the highways. So far 43 projects have been completed, and by next month all 20 wards will have had some of their projects started. All of the schemes in the programme are to be completed within the next year. Our aim is to maximise the funding we get, use it well and to ensure quality and durable road improvements.
“There are clearly many challenges in improving our highways. Our aim is to make highway repair more proactive in tackling the problems before they arise instead of having to deal with the more costly and more disruptive emergency repairs. Prevention has to be the watchword.”
The annual cost to keep Bolton’s carriageways in its current condition is £15.1m. The highways department is expected to have a budget of £12.7m in the next financial year, of which £1.8m would be spent on urgent repairs such as potholes.