East Anglia's councils get millions to repair roads after budget
PUBLISHED: 19:30 12 November 2018
Suffolk and Essex are to received more than £20m extra from the government to maintain their local road network next year.
The money, part of a total of £54.7m allocated to East Anglia counties, is to maintain and improve local roads – much is likely to be spent on filling potholes and resurfacing roads to make them more robust.
Suffolk County Council will receive £9.7m and Essex will get £10.9m. The money is part of the £420m boost for local roads announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in last month’s budget.
As well as maintaining roads, the funds can also be spent on small-scale safety improvements or on creating new bus priority routes.
However officials at county councils are still waiting to hear exact details of how the money can be spent and are unable to give firm details yet on what it will mean for their budgets.
In recent budgets councils have received smaller “pothole” funds – but this money is for more wide-ranging road repairs in a bid to reduce damage in the first place.
This funding will not affect major county council schemes like improvements to junctions around Sudbury, announced last week, or advancing work on the Four Villages’ By-Pass in east Suffolk.
Roads Minister Jesse Noman said: “Potholes are a huge problem for all road users, and too often we see issues occurring at the same place time after time.
“That is why the Government is investing more in improving our roads than at any time before. The East will be getting an extra £54 million this winter to keep its roads in good condition to keep drivers and cyclists safe.”
A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said officials were still studying the government announcement to work out exactly what the money could be used to fund.
The authority has already taken out a £21m loan to resurface many of the county’s roads to try to reduce the danger of potholes developing.
She said: “It is good news that funding for repairing Suffolk’s roads has been made available. However, we are still awaiting some of the specific details on how government wishes this money to be used.
“SCC has already pledged to invest an additional £21 million in resurfacing and repairing the county’s roads in the next three years.”