Potholes and storm damage create £204 million road repair backlog for cash-strapped Cornwall Council
Cornwall Council is facing a £204 million backlog of road repairs, the local authority has revealed.
Motorists in the Duchy could be dodging potholes for many years after the cash-strapped council said it may be forced to “manage a maintenance retreat” of its rural road network.
Last week, Bert Biscoe, cabinet member for transport and waste at Cornwall Council, said tough choices have to be made as the unitary authority looks to make cuts totalling £24 million over the next financial year.
“We regularly inspect the road network and address defects as soon as we can however, with a substantial cut in local government funding, there is significant pressure on our budget,” he said.
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“This has not been helped by the weather conditions which have accelerated the rate of damage to roads.”
Damaged caused by recent storms increased the maintenance backlog by a further £2 million over the past two months.
Mr Biscoe warned that the long-term effects of failing to maintain roads could be make or break for some communities and businesses.
“In Cornwall we find many productive and value-adding businesses and vibrant communities all lie at the end of minor rural roads,” he said.
“We are moving towards being forced to manage a maintenance retreat from our unclassified rural road network.
“The impact of this both now and in the future will be pressure on community life and a loss of economic productivity.”
The UK’s roads were left riddled with potholes following last year’s prolonged winter - costing motorists £100 million in repairs in 2013, according to figures published by the RAC.
Statistics on Cornwall Council’s website shows highways teams repaired more than 5,500 potholes across the county between April and November last year.
The website states: “Potholes are the unavoidable result of an aging highway surface being subjected to trafficking and adverse weather conditions. However, we are working hard to address this issue on our footways and carriageways.”
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