Grantham’s dream of smooth roads free from deep craters and pockmarked surfaces came a step closer this week.
Lincolnshire County Council plans to put in a bid for cash from a £168 million ‘Pothole Fund’ made available by central government.
And although even the full amount would not be enough to fix every pothole reported across the county, cabinet member for highways Richard Davies hopes to secure enough funding to make a significant impact.
Coun Davies remarked last month that Lincolnshire needs £400 million to bring its vast road network up to scratch. But he said yesterday (Thursday) that “even two to three million pounds can make a big difference”.
Any council can apply for a share from the ‘Pothole Fund’, which in total is expected to see three million potholes fixed.
Successful local authorities must sign a ‘Pothole Pledge’ as a condition of receiving funding, which sets out the number of potholes they will have repaired by March next year.
Coun Davies is confident that LCC will be successful in securing money because it has followed best practice guidelines and kept detailed records where other local authorities have failed to.
He said: “Most authorities don’t count potholes and don’t keep any meaningful figures, but we started last year to give people an idea of the size of the problem we face.
“This means that, potentially, we’re going to get more money.”
Coun Davies agreed that potholes in Grantham are a big problem, but added that they are no worse than elsewhere in the country.
He added: “We’ve put a lot of resources into the roads in the last two years and it’s made a real impact.”
He added that “haunching” of roadsides is a serious issue which has overtaken potholes in terms of complaints.
Haunching is the disintegration of the road edge, particularly in rural areas, and any cash successfully awarded from the ‘Pothole Fund’ would also go into fixing the worst affected.
Talking about the fund this week, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Part of this government’s long-term plan is investing in our roads. Potholes are a menace for all road users which is why this extra funding is provided in addition to the £10 billion already committed for councils for road maintenance.
“I want councils to rise to the challenge and to reward councils who come up with new and better ways of making repairs quickly and effectively.
“With this new pothole fund councils will need to clearly set out the scale of the work they are doing, and local communities can have certainty that the money is being spent fixing potholes on their local roads.”
LCC has until May 22 to submit its bid to the Department for Transport. A track record of best practice or proposals for innovative solutions will count as part of the bidding process.