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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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£5m boost for Cumbria to fix potholes

POTHOLE repairs to Cumbria’s road network will be boosted with an extra £4.85 million of funding from the Department for Transport.

Cumbria County Council has been awarded the sum as part of a £168million government cash injection to help repair and improve roads in England.

All local authorities in England were invited by the government to submit bids for a share of the pothole fund in April 2014, after the funding was announced in the Chancellor’s March Budget statement.

Highways authorities were given the remit that the money must be used “to repair local roads, making them safer and smoother for motorists, cyclists and other road users”.

The government said at the time that they would reward councils who come up with new and better ways of making repairs quickly and effectively and that the national fund would be enough to repair more than three million potholes.

A total of 148 authorities took part in the competitive bidding process, and Cumbria has received a proportionately higher share of the national funding pot than the baseline average calculated on the length of the road network – meaning the county’s bid impressed those making the decisions.

The bid detailed the investment the council has made in plant and equipment, improved technologies, materials and maintenance techniques as well as the way the council co-ordinates its highways work with other agencies and transport providers.

The council will be able to use the money to carry out more ‘planned patching’ work, where larger areas of road are repaired and improved rather than tackling individual potholes.

The work will be carried out between now and March 2015, under the DfT’s funding criteria, which ringfences the money for highways repairs.

Cllr Keith Little, Cabinet member responsible for highways and transport, said: “Our highways team has brought home the bacon for Cumbria, with an innovative bid that puts us in the top pack of local authorities competing for this fund.

“An extra nearly five million pounds to spend on potholes and highways maintenance is going to help make a huge difference right across the county.

“People are going to see a lot more activity on the roads in the forthcoming months – with highways repairs teams out in force doing those jobs that perhaps have been niggling communities for some time now.

“We’ll be working with our local members and local communities to firm up the priorities for the work and we’re entering into a really exciting programme, which I believe will deliver a lasting and visible benefit to the county’s highways.”

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