Lancashire County Council cabinet to consider further £10m package of highway improvements

Lancashire County Council has revealed plans for a further £10m-plus package of improvements to highways over the next year, taking the total investment to more than £30m.

The extra cash is a major boost to the county’s road maintenance plans and follows final confirmation of the Department for Transport’s annual allocation. Councillors gave the green light to an initial programme worth just over £20m in March based on an assumed level of funding.

Details of the proposed further round of investment are due to be presented to the council’s cabinet on Thursday 7 April, with a focus on improving the condition of residential ‘unclassified’ urban roads, preventing potholes on rural roads, and tackling highway flooding hotspots.

The programme worth over £10.6m in total includes:

*Resurfacing schemes for 34 smaller urban roads worth almost £2m, including over £206k to revamp part of Little Lane in Longridge with Bowland, more than £154k to resurface a section of Prospect Street in Rossendale, and over £105k to renew part of Northumberland Street in Morecambe.

*A further £434k is being proposed for surface dressing schemes covering 24 smaller urban roads across 8 neighbourhoods. This is a treatment used to extend the life of the existing road by sealing the surface to prevent water getting into small faults which eventually become potholes.

*A £3m ‘local deterioration fund’ is also proposed to tackle areas of damage which have been prioritised based on condition, repeated repairs being needed to potholes, damage claims, and complaints. This will initially fund 25 smaller resurfacing schemes for unclassified roads including more than £108k for resurfacing part of Railway Street in Nelson, over £188k for renewing a section of Stone Edge Road in Higherford, near Barrowford, and over £41k for resurfacing part of Bartle Road in St Annes.

It is also proposed to set aside £1.3m of this fund as a contingency to deal with emerging issues that may arise.
The report also outlines plans to allocate £500k towards improving drainage on highways to prevent flooding, and investing £500k in ‘jet-patching’ – a process mainly used on rural roads which can fix up to 60 defects a day using a special machine which uses compressed air to clean out the hole, before firing in an aggregate mix at high speed to make a good quality repair.

Further investment proposed for Lancashire’s most important A, B and C roads includes £300k for a scheme to preserve a section of the Bay Gateway in Lancaster, £86k for resurfacing part of Lyons Lane in Chorley, and over £147k to resurface a section of Edisford Road in Clitheroe.

A further £258k has also been set aside for improvements to two rural ‘moss roads’ in West Lancashire and Fylde which need special maintenance due to the wet and peaty ground they’re built upon, with over £254k for another round of investment in schemes to keep pavements safe and tidy.

Phil Durnell, director of highways and transport, said: “Keeping Lancashire’s roads in good condition is one of our biggest responsibilities, and we know it’s a major priority for our residents and businesses. Our cabinet has already agreed a programme of improvements to our transport infrastructure worth over £20m, based on a conservative estimate of an assumed level of funding.

“We’re pleased that we’ve now received confirmation of the funding we’re due to receive for highways from the Department for Transport annually until March 2025, allowing us to plan ahead for the future and present a further round of investment to cabinet for the coming year.”

The report also warns that while there are contingencies built into individual project estimates, the current inflationary pressures being experienced in the construction industry as well as potential supply issues mean that the delivery programme may need to be adjusted going forward to remain financially deliverable within the funding available.

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