BOLTON’S worst roads will undergo £5 million of repairs and improvements.

Highways chiefs have announced the massive investment in the borough’s roads and footpaths, with work expected to start in April. The one-off funding will come from a pot of cash which Bolton Council has set aside and will be spent over the next two years.

Repair work will be targeted at Bolton’s worst roads and potholes and 14 will be resurfaced at a cost of £2.4 million. A further £1.2 million will be spent on preventing further deterioration and restoring the skid resistance of 19 roads by sealing them with one or more layers of bitumen and hard stone chippings. This will be the first work carried out.

Thousands of potholes on other roads across the borough will be repaired with £400,000 of the funding.

Key footpaths across the borough will be resurfaced with £850,000 investment and £150,000 will be used on repairing footpaths to help extend their life.

Cllr Nick Peel, pictured, Executive Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “We are doing everything we can to improve our roads and footpaths under extremely difficult financial circumstances.

“This is investment that is clearly needed and while the money does not by any means tackle all the work we would like to do, it does help us to tackle some of the backlog we have.

“We’ve chosen roads and footpaths based on engineering surveys, and this extra funding will help to target the worst of the deterioration on some of our busy local roads. This extra funding follows on from the £6 million that we have invested in our road network in the last three years.”

Successive bad winters and a cut in government grants to maintain Bolton’s road network have been blamed for the “significant” increase in the number of potholes and the deterioration of the roads.

Arthur Lane in Bradshaw will receive the largest amount of cash — £352,200 — followed by £250,140 for Smithills Dean Road in Smithills, £262,992 for Lever Edge Lane in Great Lever, £132,816 for Park Road in Heaton, £217,200 for Oakwood Drive in Heaton, and £245,520 for Junction Road West in Ladybridge.

Cllr Peel said: “Ice affects roads in a very damaging way. When water gets into cracks in the road and freezes it expands and physically pushes the concrete out.

“Sometimes it’s not always what you can see either, but what’s going on underneath that’s the problem, and our engineers use sonar machines to spot defects under the surface.

“Roads might have cracks developing underneath and all it will take is for winter to set in and for a heavy truck to go over it to cause damage.”

The work has been prioritised following reports from the council’s engineers.

The £5 million is from a pot of £14 million capital cash set aside for boosting the borough, which councillors announced last September. Due to government restrictions the funding cannot be used to offset government spending cuts and has to be used on one-off schemes.

Town Hall bosses are expected to slash the council’s overall budget by £43 million over the next two years with up to 720 posts being lost.

The latest figures show Bolton Council paid out almost £50,000 in compensation to motorists whose vehicles have been damaged by potholes and poor roads over just two years.

Damage includes punctured or damaged tyres, problems with suspension and wheel rim and steering damage.