WHITEHALL wants regular pothole filling progress reports from Herefordshire Council to ensure that more than £2 million of road repair funding is being well spent.
The secretary of state for transport has confirmed that £2,572,415 is coming the cash-strapped council’s way from the government’s Pothole Fund.
As a condition of the funding, the council must publish quarterly progress reports - copied to the Department of Transport (DoT) – detailing how many potholes have been permanently repaired or the length of resurfacing that has taken place to stop them forming.
A decision to approve use of the funding is due to be made by Cllr Paul Rone, cabinet member for transport and roads, next month.
The decision is driven by the council’s highway asset management strategy with its ambitious “whole life” £72 million saving on maintenance and prevention of 386,000 potholes over the 34 year life cycle of the county’s roads.
Hundreds of potholes pepper the county .
Alternatives would see more pot holes filled over the short term at the expense of long term road conditions.
The council does not see such options as leading to sustained improvement.
A £200 million pothole fund was included in the government’s March budget with £168 million made available to council’s in England.
Herefordshire Council’s bid was submitted to the DoT in May and secured £2,572,415 as a grant for additional highways maintenance over the 2014-15 financial year.
As a condition of the funding the council must publish a quarterly progress report, copied to the DoT, providing details of how many potholes have been permanently repaired or the length of resurfacing that has taken place to stop the formation of potholes.
In each report, the council has to outline what it had had originally budgeted to spend in that quarter and how the additional funding had complemented the wider maintenance spend.
The council is the highway authority for all roads in the county with the exception of trunk roads and motorways which are the responsibility of the Highways Agency.
Herefordshire has over 2,000 miles of highway that, if built today, would cost more than £2.5 billion.
The decline in the county's highway condition is currently estimated to be around £100 million expressed as the sum needed to return roads to “'as new”.
Over 2014/15 and 2015/16 an extra £20 million of works is planned targeted to fix roads either in the greatest need of repair or having the “greatest value” to communities
The asset management strategy is intended to cut the cost of potholes to the council and the community by over £1.6 billion while reducing the whole life cost of maintenance by over £72 million and preventing 386,000 potholes over the 34 year lifecycle of the county's roads.