War on potholes stepped up

Fighting the war on potholes
Fighting the war on potholes
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WIGAN’S battle against the rising number of potholes is to intensify this new year.

Thanks to added funding, it is hoped that areas with severe problems will be addressed soon.

It is just as well, given that the number of road craters has been growing considerably in recent months.

The borough has been awarded an extra £500,000 from a £28m national pot for road maintenance announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

This funding is in addition to the £3bn the Government says it is already providing for councils in England between 2011 and 2015 for highways maintenance.

The council’s cabinet member for environment, Coun Kevin Anderson, said that during these times of restricted budgets for highways maintenance any additional funds was welcome.

He added: “We have performed well historically within Greater Manchester with regard to the condition of our highway network. Although this new money doesn’t cover the funding we have lost because of government cuts, it will at least help us address some of the issues created by reduced budgets.

“All maintenance work is based on our Highway Asset Management plan, which prioritises carriageway and footway resurfacing schemes.

“We use a series of methods to find out where repairs are most needed and will now be working to establish where this new money can be best spent. When the funds have been allocated in the new year, a list of schemes will be published on the council’s website.

“Our aim is to continue to provide a safe and effective highway network for the travelling public of Wigan Borough and the recent successful opening of the Saddle Relief Road demonstrates this.”

This funding could be used for improvements such as road resurfacing, maintenance to bridges or repairing damage to highway infrastructure caused by severe weather events, such as the recent flooding.

Mr McLoughlin said the extra money would support economic growth and development by helping local authorities in the North West to get the best out of their local road networks.

He said: “This funding can be spent on measures to bring smoother, safer and more reliable journeys to the travelling public whether they are commuting to work or taking the children to school.”

In order to help residents see where this money has been spent, he said, it will be a condition of the funding that local authorities commit to publishing a short statement on their websites at the end of each financial year setting out what and where this additional funding has been spent.

Local authorities are also encouraged to look at the information published by the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme which is leading the way by bringing together the public and private sectors to develop good practice and reduce costs.

Further details can be found at www.dft.gov.uk/hmep