Flintshire Council’s battle to fix our broken roads

Reporter:

Matt Jones

THOUSANDS of pounds is to be spent tackling what is feared to be a huge increase in potholes.

The recent freeze has had a significant impact on highways in Flintshire, with the county’s roads described as in a “terrible state”.

And in Wrexham, thawing snow and ice has caused new potholes to open up on “a daily basis”.

Now the man in charge of Wrexham’s highways network has assured motorists that filling potholes will top the authority’s action list.

Cllr David Bithell said: “Dealing with them will be our main priority.

“An extensive roads and resurfacing programme was carried out following last year’s severe weather and we will not know the true extent of the damage until after the thaw is complete this winter.

“As from next Tuesday additional resources will be made available to carry out immediate temporary repairs where damage has occurred.

“It is important these repairs are carried out quickly and followed by a more comprehensive programme when the weather improves.”

Cllr Bithell said the council had undertaken a two-year highways maintenance programme to a total value of £4.3 million.

Half of that amount has already been spent and the rest will go on on the highways network during the financial year starting in April.

Wrexham Council has also just received £253,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government, and will be adding an additional £300,000 from its own resources to spend on highways.

But the authority has also made an urgent plea for extra cash to help keep its highways maintenance programme on track. In the last financial year, Wrexham's backlog of highways repairs stood at £20 million.

Cllr Tony Sharps, Flintshire’s executive member for environment, said repair and maintenance work could result in a “massive spend”.

He added: “There will be considerable work to be done. We have had two of the worst winters in 30 years.

“There will be no repairs until the weather gets better. If there are really, really very bad instances than we will repair for the safety of road users.”

Buckley county councillor Ron Hampson said: “The roads are in a terrible state. We have done a lot of gritting and we never caught up from last year.”

Cllr Sharps said the county would be applying to the Assembly Government for extra funding and described the situation as a “national crisis”.

He added: “I would like to pay tribute to members of the public who have been marvellous during the bad weather.”

An Assembly Government spokesman said it would be reviewing the situation with local authorities.

He added: “Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant announced extra funding totalling £7 million last month for local authorities to spend in this financial year on mending potholes and buying road salt for gritting this winter.

“It is for local authorities to decide their priorities in terms of road repair and the purchase of road salt.”

Motorists can report potholes in Wrexham by calling 01978 298989. In Flintshire, go to www.flintshire.gov.uk or call 01352 780812.

See full story in the Leader

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