Statement on the Section 31 Emergency Fund - Winter Damage 2011/12
Winter Damage Statement
On the 24th February this year the Department for Transport (DfT) announced extra funding of £200 million to help local highway authorities to repair potholes and other damage caused by severe weather, in particular the snow and ice events of December 2010 and January 2011. Devon’s share of this money, based on a formula applied by the DfT, was a special revenue grant of just over £9.3 million.
Devon County Council originally set a budget of £28,309k for Highway Maintenance works during 2011/12. The budget was agreed at Cabinet on 9th March, which was prior to the letter notifying us of the award of the extra special grant, dated 24th March. The £9.3M is therefore additional funding from DfT, which has allowed the Authority to undertake additional carriageway works, focussing on damage sustained during the winter period. As a result, the budget has been increased to £37,612K to take account of these additional works.
An extensive schedule of road repairs is now underway across Devon, with more than 2,000 roads earmarked to be fixed following damage caused by severe winter weather.
Devon County Council has announced details of the schemes that will be funded by the £9.3 million grant. The funding is being used to repair around 125 miles of roads in more than 50 communities across Devon.
The County Council’s highways teams carried out an extensive assessment of potholes and structural damage to its road network, taking in all of Devon’s 29 market towns, a further 13 towns and parishes, and all of the county’s winter pre-salting routes. Local county councillors have also been consulted in compiling the schedule.
In carrying out its evaluation, Devon County Council identified urgent repairs totalling £14 million which will be carried out during this year and continue into next summer.
The DfT grant is being used for permanent repairs rather than pothole filling, and schemes have been selected where structural patching or resurfacing will ensure that roads will be more resilient to potholes forming again. The work focuses on the busiest routes across Devon, and roads in towns where five or more potholes on a 100 metre stretch of road have been repaired in the previous 12 months.
Work is already underway in some areas but the details of other schemes are still being finalised. Among the areas where work will be carried out are:
- Exeter, where more than £1.5 million will be spent on repairs;
- Tiverton will receive more than £1 million of attention to its roads;
- Bideford and Northam will receive over £690,000;
- Exmouth will undergo £605,000 of repairs,
- Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton, where more than £475,000 will be invested in local roads.
Other investment includes more than £620,000 in Cullompton, almost £430,000 in Crediton, over £261,000 in Sidmouth, more than £260,000 in Seaton, over £204,000 in Tavistock, around £138,000 in Barnstaple, more than £115,000 in Dawlish, almost £100,000 in Okehampton, and over £54,000 in Dartmouth.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation, said: “This additional funding has allowed us to take a thorough look at all of our roads, to target where it’s most needed, and people right across Devon will benefit from this. It has been impossible to keep pace with the damage caused to Devon’s highway network over the past three winters, so this grant is helping us carry out more repairs than we could have hoped to achieve, but it won’t solve all of the problems on our roads.
“Our priority is to keep the A and B roads in good condition because they carry the most traffic and are most important to the local economy, but we have also ensured that local knowledge from local members has been taken into account to draw together this extensive programme of work.”
Most of the schemes will be scheduled for completion before the end of March 2012 and all of the £9.3M grant will be spent by then, however because of the volume and nature of repairs identified work will continue into next Summer.
A record 200,000 potholes were fixed on Devon’s roads in 2010 – around five times more than the year before. Last year the County Council spent £11 million on repairing the county’s roads damaged by the severe weather of the previous winter.