Daunting bill to repair our battered roads won't go away

Fixing the roads costs an astonishing amount

Fixing the roads costs an astonishing amount

First published in News

THE lucky ones among us may get through the journey to work without having to swerve out of the way of craters in the road.

But for most, driving around the county’s roads throws up a whole host of challenges – you may have made it through the traffic jams, only to dread the bill at the garage when you hit a pothole.

So what can be done? It’s the age-old cost issue. The county council estimates it would cost an eye-watering £167m to bring Oxfordshire’s roads up to scratch and a further maintenance cost of £23m every year to keep them in shape.

But as the council faces making yet more multi-million-pound budget cuts, there simply isn’t enough money to sort our roads out.

That’s why David Nimmo Smith, the council’s cabinet member for transport, is calling on the Government to find more money to tackle the problems.

Earlier this month, an extra £4.8m was handed to the council to help fix more potholes. But there will undoubtedly be many roads that won’t get proper long-term repairs and will remain an obstacle course for motorists and cyclists.

In the next few weeks, the Department for Transport is expected to tell councils how they can bid for more money from a pothole relief fund, outlined in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget.

Although there will be £200m available, set against what is needed to fix Oxfordshire’s roads alone, never mind the rest of the country, this money is just another drop in the ocean.

The council must continue to press the case for more. And then, perhaps, we might all enjoy smoother journeys.

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