Wrexham roads suffer £12 million damage from weather

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

THE worst winter weather in years has cut up Wrexham’s roads to the tune of £12 million.

And the council is planning to borrow an extra £1.6m to tackle the worst of the frost-ravaged carriageways over the next two years.

The authority’s highways experts have just produced a shock report which reveals that since last August, roads across the borough have suffered huge damage – mainly potholes – which will cost an estimated £12m to repair.

At their meeting next Tuesday, members of the council’s executive board will be asked to approve a spending package to correct the worst affected roads.

Although this will not rectify the whole problem, it will cost more than £4m, £1.6m of which will come from borrowing. The council will have to pay this back over the next 25 years.

Cllr David Bithell, the council’s lead member for the environment and transport, said: “Following the worst winter in recent years, prolonged periods of ice and frost have resulted in significant damage to the highways network.

“A condition survey has been carried out which highlights that to repair the worst roads in the county would require in the region of £5 million.

“Although much more resources are needed in the longer term to address the historical backlog of road maintenance, the additional £1.6 million over the next two years, together with our existing resources, will mean £4.3 million is spent on Wrexham’s roads to ensure we maintain our highways network to an acceptable standard and to address the needs of local residents, business and the local economy. A further report will go to the scrutiny committee later this month to look at the overall highways infrastructure.”

The latest report to the executive board paints an even bleaker picture of the state of the borough’s roads.

Even before ice and frost took its toll this winter it says that the roads maintenance backlog that existed in summer 2009 was assessed to be in the region of £20m.

And while earlier this year it handed Wrexham an extra £150,000 to repair potholes, the Welsh Assembly Government has announced that the Road Maintenance Grant (RMG) is to be reduced to £170,000 in 2010-11 from £550,000 in 2009-10 with no funding guaranteed beyond this year.

Cllr Bithell has written to the Deputy First Minister informing him of the deteriorating state of the highway infrastructure following the severe winter weather and requested that the RMG be reinstated to its 2009-10 level.

Cllr Bithell said the extra £1.6m being pumped into the roads over the next two years would come from “prudential borrowing” rather than cuts in other council services.

See full story in the Leader

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