Somerset Council secures extra £5.4 million for highway maintenance after year of challenges

Somerset Council has secured an additional £5.4 million to carry out essential repair works across the county’s road network.

This year’s extra funding from the Government recognises the unprecedented challenges facing authorities after a year of extreme weather conditions.

A blistering summer followed by a winter of sustained flooding and freezing temperatures has led to a huge increase in defects on roads across the UK with standing water getting under surfaces and then freezing.

By no means the worst hit, Somerset has a major programme of works to tackle. In January alone 4,347 safety defects (potholes, blocked gullies and other damage) were reported – nearly 50 per cent up on 2022. In total there were 27,671 safety defects for 2022/23, up 3,500 on the previous year. There has been the additional challenge this week of flash flooding, said the council.

“This extra funding will ensure the council can not only tackle the growing maintenance backlog in highways maintenance following the challenges we’ve faced over the last nine months, but it’s going to make it possible to for us to take preventative actions and protect road,” said Councillor Mike Rigby, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Transport and Digital. 

He added: “We know people out there are noticing the state of the roads, we can see the number of reports we’re getting from the public have grown, so I’d ask people to please keep using our report function, bear with us, we’re operating on a priority basis,

“Over the next three months there will be comprehensive assessments made to catalogue the damage and schedule repairs, and a huge operation to get the work done so we can build that resilience in our network, ensure our residents and business have reliable connectivity, with safe, well-maintained roads, and that we’re well prepared ahead of next winter.”

The range of additional and preventative works which will be planned include:

  • Targeted operations to tackle the 20 worst roads within the county network.
  • A carriageway resilience recovery programme seeking to address areas of defective carriageway (depressions, crazing, crocodile cracking).
  • Alternative surface treatments – crack sealing, micro resurfacing, and retexturing. Cracking was a feature of the hot weather last summer – contributing to the deteriorating condition over the winter.
  • Additional Velocity Spray-applied Patching. To expand the programme of repairing C Class 3 monthly inspection routes.

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