Work continues to improve Northumberland road network

A pothole
A pothole

Around 700 potholes a week are being cleared in Northumberland as the County Council continues work to improve the road network.

Following a pledge last winter to clear the long-running backlog of potholes, teams of council staff successfully filled in the outstanding repairs of 12,213 potholes by the end of June 2014 – a figure which stood at more than 32,000 in May 2013.

On average around 700 potholes a week are currently being repaired as the rolling programme of work continues.

While the current backlog stands at around 6,000 potholes, there tends to be a spike in reporting during winter and at the current rate of repair should be cleared in the next four months.

Last year the council published a ‘potholeometer’ showing work to reduce the backlog and it is now being re-introduced so people can see for themselves how many holes are being filled in each month.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment said: “As with many local authorities, we have seen our road network deteriorate over the past few years, mainly due to long-term under investment, exacerbated by a series of severe weather events.

The Council recognises the importance of maintaining this network and has, over the past two years, invested heavily in additional resources to help tackle the issue.

“Since April 2014 we have repaired over 46,000 potholes and recently topped the poll in the ‘most improved county council’ category in the Highways and Transportation public satisfaction survey 2014.

“We said we would clear the backlog and were true to our word. With over 5,000kms of road to look after and varying weather conditions there will always be peaks and troughs in the cycle of repairs but we want to be open and transparent and show people our progress.

“We are currently carrying out more work on the county’s highways than we have seen for many years and once the weather improves we will be starting on a surface dressing programme for the roads, meaning highways will be smoother and repairs last longer.

“The Government funding over the next few years will provide a welcome boost to the roads budget in 2015/16.”

To follow the progress being made to tackle potholes on a monthly basis residents can go to the Northumberland County Council website