How many potholes are planned for repair in 2021?
- Credit: Archant
Highways chiefs in Suffolk have outlined their maintenance blueprint for the county's roads in the year ahead, which includes plans to resurface 140miles of roads, repair more than 20,000 potholes and strengthen six road bridges among other projects.
Suffolk Highways is waiting to find out its final settlement from the government for its maintenance budget, but is expected to be between £23million and £26m for the 2021/22 financial year.
Suffolk County Council's highways team has made plans based on £21m, with an additional £4m brought forward from last year's extra grant of £15m from the government.
Among the plans outlined by Conservative cabinet member for highways Andrew Reid during Thursday's full council debate on the 2021/22 budget, were:
- 140miles of roads to be resurfaced
- Strengthening work on six highways bridges
- Replacement or refurbishment of seven public rights of way bridges
- Upgrades to traffic lights at five areas
- Replacing 1,200 street lighting columns
- Converting 43,000 street light lanterns to LED
- Trialling automatic numberplate recognition cameras for speeding
- Designating up to 200 roads as quiet lanes
While a figure has not yet been given on how many potholes will be targeted, the highways team repaired 22,911 potholes between the start of April 2019 and the end of March 2020, with 13,640 potholes repaired from the six months from the start of April 2020.
It is understood the highways team is looking to hit similar numbers again in the year ahead, meaning between 22,000 and 26,000 defects are likely to be fixed.
Mr Reid said: "Long term funding for highways remains a key challenge, as recognised by the scrutiny committee, but I am confident our focus for the next year will bring tangible benefits for residents and businesses in Suffolk."
He said drainage in light of recent flooding problems will be "a key focus" in plans being drawn up, and added: "Once the final settlement is confirmed by the Department for Transport and should it prove to be more than £21m, I will be working with officers to confirm where to allocate any balance for further refurbishments and major maintenance work on structures."
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It is anticipated that the recent snow and ice may open up some more potholes on the county's roads, with highways bosses confirming they have been assessing options to tackle those problems.
The Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group put forward its own budget proposals during Thursday's debate, which were ultimately rejected, but included calls for a £112,000 investment in footpaths, £75,000 for the removal, replacement or updating of old road signs, and a countywide review of speed limits.