Suffolk gets �4m to repair pot-holed roads

A MULTI-MILLION pound Government grant to repair Suffolk's pot-holed roads was last night welcomed by the county's transport chief.

But Guy McGregor, the county's portfolio-holder for transport and highways, fears that the money may only be enough to paper over the cracks following two harsh winters.

Councils across the region were yesterday told how they were set to benefit from the doubling of money available for repairing potholes, fundng that was announced during Wednesday's Budget. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has written to all local highways authorities to inform them of their individual share of �200m.

More than �4.4m has been allocated to Suffolk County Council's highways department for the repairing of the county's crater-filled roads.

Mr McGregor told the EADT that he was delighted that Suffolk's road users would benefit from the money, but said that it was underlying damage which would be most costly.

Last month the Department for Transport announced that it was making �100m available to help with much-needed road repairs following severe weather at the end of last year. However, further savings have been identified and more money has been allocated to the project.

'I am delighted because we always aim to keep our highways in good condition,' Mr McGregor said. 'Our workforce will be happy to help improve the roads that were affected by the severe weather which took hold two winters in a row.

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'The funding is very welcome as we were originally expecting about �2m so this will bring about a terrific amount of repairs.

'While it is very welcome, the severe weather cost us about �20m so in effect it is slightly more than 20% of the way there.

'While potholes are the most visible sign of damage, there can potentially be more underlying damage underneath the road which require more work.'

Essex County Council's highways team have been allocated �5.3m, while Norfolk will receive just short of �7m.

Across the whole of the East of England, �25m will be spent on transforming the roads damaged by potholes.

Mr Hammond said: 'Potholes are a menace to all road users and I want councils to make fixing them a priority.

'That is why, when more funding became available, I agreed with the Chancellor that we would double the amount of money we are providing for repairs to be carried out.

'This represents a significant investment in road maintenance at a time of severe fiscal restraint, demonstrating the Government's commitment to maintain our infrastructure to support motorists and businesses.'

The funding is in addition to �831m already provided to councils for road maintenance, and the �3billion pledged by the Government for the next four years.

All local highway authorities will publish information reflecting how the extra money has been sent by September 30, 2011. The information will be published on each authority's website.

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