£68m needed to repair Wakefield’s roads

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It will now cost £68m to repair the district’s pothole-ridden roads it was revealed this week.

The figure has gone up £20m since this time last year, when the cost of the crumbling road crisis was put at £48m, following a survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

But council officials said it is not a sign that the roads are any worse.

Ian Thomson, Wakefield Council’s service director for highways, said that the condition of the district’s highways was being maintained through a programme of planned and emergency work.

He added: “The deterioration of the network has not got significantly worse this year. What has changed is the way the costs are worked out.

“One of the biggest changes in these calculations is the cost of resurfacing. Last year we used government guidance, which we always believed was low. This year we are using current market rates, which are higher and which have increased due to inflation and fluctuations in the oil market which affect the cost of bitumen used on roads.”

The AIA is calling for the government to make more funding available to councils for lasting repairs, but Mr Thomson said £68m is money the local authority just has not got.

He said the figure was the money that would need to be spent to create ‘perfect conditions’ for road users, and that it encompasses everything to do with highways from road surfaces, to pavements, verges, signage and bridges.

He added: “We have not got anything like this amount of money to spend on our highways system and have to do the best we can within our budgets.”

Last year, council bosses said they had £7.25m to spend on resurfacing up to 2015.