City’s pothole problem will cost £48m and 10 years to fix says Wakefield Council

Graham West
Graham West
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The cost of Wakefield’s crumbling road crisis has been revealed in a shocking survey.

Figures released by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) put the cost of repairing all the district’s potholes at £95,378,947, which is the average cost for each council in Yorkshire and Humberside.

But Wakefield Council say the figure is £48m.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (Alarm) survey, also showed it would take an average of 11 years to clear the backlog.

And now the AIA is calling for the government to make more funding available to councils for lasting repairs instead of “costly patch up jobs.”

AIA chairman Alan Mackenzie said: “Constantly having to patch up crumbling roads, rather than using highway engineers’ skills properly, to ensure good road condition in a planned and cost effective way, is nonsensical and costly.

“It’s time to stop the rot. The government needs to make sufficient funding available now that will enable councils to get their roads back into a condition that will quickly and directly boost the economy, help businesses and improve local communities.”

Wakefield Council bosses put the actual cost of clearing the pothole backlog at £48m over 10 years.

Last July the council said it had £4.25m to spend on resurfacing 75 miles of road, with a further £3m investment planned for next three years.

But yesterday, Graham West, highways network service manager, said bad weather had hindered progress on the 108 roads specified.

He said: “We have completed two thirds of our planned programme for 2012/13. Last year saw one of the wettest summers on record and unfortunately some timescales have slipped as the work can only be carried out in suitable weather conditions. This has also impacted on our contractors, who then need to be rescheduled to carry out these works. We fully understand residents’ frustrations but are working as quickly as we can and can reassure them that all the works identified in the programme will still be completed”.

The pothole issue sparked road rage on the Express Facebook page with people questioning what they pay road tax for.

Mr West added: “The ‘road tax’ that people pay does not directly fund the maintenance of roads. Our funding for highways maintenance comes from both central government and council funding. We are spending £14.8m this year on maintaining our highways, and like every council in the country we face a major challenge in repairing potholes as the road network deteriorates.”