Pothole repair programme begins after funding boost

Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham.
Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham.

A Northumberland MP has welcomed new dedicated funding from the Government to deal with potholes in the county.

And after receiving the £1.1million allocation, the county council has started to repair the defects on its road network.

The authority said last autumn that it had cleared the backlog, but a combination of heavy rains followed by sub-zero temperatures over the winter meant that some 2,700 potholes were beyond their target response time for repair.

More than 300 larger defects were also identified.

The funding has been made available to councils as part of the Government’s £250million Pothole Action Fund included in last month’s budget.

Guy Opperman, MP for the Hexham constituency, said “The state of our roads is consistently raised with me by local residents and remains a great source of frustration for drivers, so this new funding is welcome news for families and businesses in Northumberland who rely on our roads to get around.

“I’ve been campaigning for a long time for greater investment in road repairs and I’m encouraging the county council to make full use of its allocation to help improve our poor roads.”

County councillor Eileen Armstrong, who represents Ponteland East and Stannington, said “This funding will be a godsend. The state of local roads is pretty desperate in some areas, especially here in our area.

“The key thing now is that the county council actually spends this money here, not just in Blyth and Ashington.”

The weather conditions have warmed up enough to enable the council’s two Jetpatchers to be used.

These are state-of-the-art self-contained wagons that carry all necessary equipment and materials to repair potholes. They can each repair around 145 of them a day, at an average cost of less than £10 a hole.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “This extra funding will allow us to implement an intensive programme of pothole repairs to help address the damage that has occurred to road surfaces this winter.”