The UK government has announced an additional £100m (US$142m) of funding to councils to help repair almost two million potholes and other storm damage on local roads that have been badly affected by recent severe winter weather.
The new funding is on top of the £75m (US$106m) in government funding already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as the additional £46m (US$65m) boost for highways authorities announced just before Christmas.
Around seven million potholes will be filled due to this money that was originally announced in the 2016 budget. An additional £2.5m (US$3.5m) has already been allocated to Devon County Council to quickly repair the A379 trunk road that was badly damaged by Storm Emma. The new funding is on top of the record £6bn (US$8.5bn) the government is providing local authorities between 2015 and 2021 to maintain and improve their roads.
The government is also investing more than £900,000 (US$1.2m) in innovations using connected vehicles to help councils more efficiently manage and plan maintenance works. The trials will ultimately help provide councils with data to enable them to repair and prevent further potholes and other road defects before they occur, as well as maintain other infrastructure more effectively as part of their asset management plans.
Blackpool Council has been given £100,000 (US$142,000) to lead on a digital inspector scheme with eight other councils, which will see high-definition cameras mounted on vehicles to collect data on road and path conditions that is then analyzed by computers to highlight where roads are deteriorating. The City of York will also get £72,000 (US$102,200) to use a similar system to build on its ‘pothole spotter’ trial.
Transport for the West Midlands, West Sussex County Council, Buckinghamshire County Council, Croydon Council and Southampton City Council have also been awarded funding for road condition monitoring innovations. Swindon Borough Council will trial the use of smartphone sensors to collate road conditions, and Essex County Council will work with Daimler to use information collected by its cars. Derby City Council and Oxfordshire County Council will use connected vehicles to collect data on the condition of road signs.
“We have seen an unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather which has caused damage to our local roads,” noted UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling. “We are giving councils even more funding to help repair their roads, so all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes.”