Council pledges an extra £5 million investment in fixing roads

Buckinghamshire Council has pledged an extra £5 million of funding this coming year to boost investment in repairs to roads across the county, adding to the £105 million already committed to the road network over the next four years.

At the Council budget setting meeting last week, councillors voted in favour of an amendment put forward by Councillors Gareth Williams and Diana Blamires to make an extra £5m available from council reserves to address a rise in defects that have been exacerbated by one of the wettest winters in recent years.

The money will be used to fund much needed repairs across the county caused by long periods of very wet weather this winter, and councillors agreed to ‘deploy the funding as quickly as possible’.

Steven Broadbent, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Transport explained: This money comes on top of already significant investment in our road network and recognises what a priority this is for our residents. The money will benefit all areas and will target locations of greatest need to make the highest impact throughout the county.

"Winter weather always has an impact on our highways network but this year we have seen a higher than normal amount of rain and standing surface water which has caused even more problems with many of our road surfaces. As a result, we have seen surge in potholes and other road defects being reported.

"Local government budgets have never been tighter and our own finances are under significant pressure here in Buckinghamshire; however, alongside the substantial savings we are making, we are currently in a position where we can allocate this extra funding from our reserves and are doing so because residents have told us this is what they want.

In total Buckinghamshire Council has committed £110m to highway repairs and improvements over the next four years. The overall investment will go towards maintaining and improving the road network across the county, including a range of works and schemes, from the so-called ‘Plane and Patch’ programme, where whole sections of roads are resurfaced, to one-off large scale projects like structural repairs and cleaning at Marlow Bridge and Stoke Road Bridge, replacing the central section of the Berry Hill footbridge in Taplow and carrying on inspecting and cleansing our 85,000 gullies.

At the moment up to 30 repair teams are out every day carrying out emergency repairs and temporary fixes to the most problem areas. During the winter, when the weather is colder and wetter, permanent fixes are not always possible. Instead, teams often have to carry out a short-term fix to make the road safe and once the weather gets warmer and drier they can return to make a permanent repair.

Steven explained: The temporary fixes don’t necessarily look pretty and are not meant to be lasting but the important thing is they are doing a simple job of making the road safe for motorists in the short term. We do undertake permanent repairs when the road conditions allow and are also trialling innovative technology that removes excess water from potholes to allow a better repair.

As we move into warmer weather in the spring months the temporary repairs reduce in number so longer-lasting improvement works and bigger resurfacing projects can be undertaken.

This is the second year in a row that Buckinghamshire Councillors have committed an additional £5 million of funding for the county’s roads, recognising the impact of two wet winters and what residents have asked for their money to be spent on.

Image of country road with sunny sky.