Road repairs are a top priority says Wakefield Council

Potholes in Wakefield.
Potholes in Wakefield.

Wakefield Council is promising to prioritise fixing the distcrict’s roads – but it is going to cost £20m more than they thought last year.

The council said that the cost of fixing the district’s pothole-ridden roads has gone up to £68m.

And to tackle the problem, the council is proposing creating a new cabinet portfolio for transport and highways.

Under the new proposal cabinet member Coun David Dagger will move from culture, sport and libraries to transport and highways.

According to the latest survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) the cost of repairing the district’s roads is £96m, which is the average cost for each council in Yorkshire and Humberside.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (Alarm) survey also revealed it will take an average of 12 years to clear the backlog, based on current budgets.

Ian Thomson, Wakefield Council’s service director for highways, said: “£68m includes everything to do with the highways – road surfaces, pavements and verges, signage and bridges.

“The deterioration of the network has not got significantly worse compared to last year. What has changed is the way the costs were worked out last year and the way the costs are calculated this year, with a significant rise in the costs of resurfacing.

Mr Thomson added: “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.

“We do not have anything like this amount of money to spend on our highways system, but this is one of our top priorities and we will do the best we can within our budgets to improve our roads. £68m is what we estimate we would need to do everything which needs to be done to achieve perfect conditions.”

Wakefield Council leader Coun Peter Box said the roads were now the council’s top priority as he announced a cabinet reshuffle.

He said: “We understand from listening to local residents that the state of our roads is a top priority therefore we have created a dedicated cabinet post with responsibility for transport and highways to ensure we do our best with the money we’ve got to keep our roads up to scratch.”