£1billion needed to tackle backlog of repairs in West
Bringing all the roads in Devon and Cornwall up to scratch would cost nearly £1billion and is spiralling with every severe weather event, it has been revealed.
According to information released by the two main councils in the area, the backlog for the region’s network of roads has reached almost un affordable proportions.
Last spring, Devon County Council, which manages an 8,000 mile of roads - the biggest of any local authority in the country - was facing a backlog bill of £687million.
However, in less than a year this has leapt by £63million to £750million mainly due to the effects of the coldest March in record last year and storms which lashed the region this winter.
In Cornwall, the backlog for road repair has amounted to £204million.
However the unitary authority has warned that dealing with the recent extreme weather has left them with a bill of at least £2million.
Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management and flood prevention, said the situation was the result of long term under investment.
Worryingly, he said the increase in the road maintenance backlog bill in just a year was how much the authority needs to spend to stand still.
The amount is also just shy of twice how much the authority has been allocated by the Government for the coming year.
He said: “The current backlog to bring all of Devon's roads up to a good standard is estimated at about £750 million.
“This is due to years of under investment.
“Devon would need to spend about £64 million a year to maintain the current condition of our 8,000 mile network, which is the biggest of any local authority in the country.
“The allocation from Government for the next financial year will be £35 million.”
The matter is due to go to Devon County Council’s scrutiny committee tomorrow.
Funding for structural repair, which would have an impact on addressing the backlog and improve road conditions, comes from the Department of Transport.
The allocation is based on a complex formula rather than an assessment of specific needs.
Devon County Council, which does not manage raods in Plymouth or Torbay, would need to spend about £64million a year to halt the deterioration of the condition of the network.
However, it’s capital programme shows Government allocations of £39million in 2013/14 and going down to £35 million in 2014/15.
Cornwall Council has revealed a £204million bill to fix the backlog of repairs for its 4,500-mile highway network.
The Department for Transport said English councils had been given £3.4bn for road maintenance for 2011 to 2015.