Kent to deliver huge highway maintenance programme with Network North funding

Kent County Council is to deliver a Pothole Blitz Programme across the county.

The programme will see many potholes being repaired, including the prevention of potholes and highway defects from forming in the future.

Its ‘Pothole Blitz’ work started in March and will continue until autumn 2024. This will help it to complete the repairs in the best weather conditions and allows the council to make sure the permanent repairs are done in the right conditions.

Network North funding is an £8.3 billion commitment to highways maintenance across England over the next 11 years. Kent is due to receive £135 million in total between 2023 to 2024 and 2033 to 2034.

The additional funding will be on top of the £50 million that is due to be invested in Kent’s roads this coming year. This is part of the council’s planned Asset Investment programme which includes £25 million of its capital budget to supplement the DfT Maintenance grant.

This funding is in addition to local transport funding from the last Spending Review and additional to what local highway authorities were expecting in the future. It will represent a significant increase in Department for Transport (DfT) support for local roads.  Kent County Council will receive £4.296 million for 23/24 and a further £4.296 million for 24/25 on top of the already confirmed DfT maintenance grant funding for those years.

The Kent highways teams are well underway identifying and planning the Pothole Blitz programme. Due to the nature of the works and the already unprecedented demand for road space (including the work of utility companies), the programme is spread over a number of months in a fully co-ordinated way. This minimises the disruption and impact to road users.

Innovation is at the forefront of Kent’s highways maintenance delivery, said the council. the ciuncil has said it will always seek to use the latest technology and materials to deliver quality work in the most efficient way. Last year it introduced the Pothole Pro that helped us use a more efficient delivery. This meant that the council could work quicker to remove old road surfaces for repair. The council will look to use this again alongside mini planers and pavers. These smaller items of machinery can be beneficial in narrower roads and in an urban environment, reducing working zones and speeding up the repair work and minimising disruption to road users.

As part of its annual asset programmes the council will review new techniques and materials such as warm mix asphalts. These are more environmentally friendly, with a reduced carbon production and emissions. This combined with the latest rejuvenating bitumen helps our approach to use the very latest materials for cost-effective maintenance.

Road space and permit numbers are at a 10-year high with large volumes of work taking place across the our road network.

To work alongside utility companies effectively in a co-ordinated approach and to minimise disruption on our roads the council said it is:

  • using the Kent Lane Rental Scheme and Kent Permit Scheme
  • sharing its advanced programme of works with utility companies.
  • having regular Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee (HAUC) meetings with representatives.

To help with the additional workload, the council has :

  • increased staffing in its streetworks team
  • introduced dedicated road closure inspectors, who will ensure compliance with conditions and diversionary routes. They will also make sure closures are used effectively and are not unnecessarily long.

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