AN extra £700,000 to help fix potholes is just a “drop in the ocean” of the £80 million needed to get Bolton’s roads up to scratch, a top transport boss has said.
The Department for Transport has announced that Bolton Council is in line to receive the grant to help improve the standard of roads across the borough.
The council will receive £393,335 from the pothole funding allocation made this month, on top of a weather repair fund of £309,888 — totalling £703,223.
But Cllr David Chadwick, who is in charge of highways at the council, said the money would barely make a dent on the £80 million-worth of road repairs required, including an estimated 7,000 potholes across the town in need of fixing.
He said: “I welcome any new money to try and improve potholes. However, when you consider that the council has an £80 million backlog of road repairs, it really is a drop in the ocean.
“There’s a finite amount of money available but an enormous quantity of potholes to be done, with varying degrees of urgency.”
After receiving a complaint about a pothole, inspectors are sent out from the council to assess its severity, based on size, depth and how dangerous it is.
They then collate a list for workmen to prioritise which potholes need to be done more urgently, with main roads taking priority.
Astley Bridge resident Lee Hacking, who is partially sighted, complained to Bolton Council in February that potholes in Cameron Street could damage his mobility car, meaning it cannot be parked in his driveway.
The father-of-four said it took workmen 28 days to come out to fix a pothole at his home, which he claimed had been done three times before.
“They don’t repair the roads properly, they just patch them up”, said Mr Hacking, aged 49.
“On a road nearby you can see the cobbles. If they are not going to repair them properly, you might as well not do it at all. On another street there’s weeds growing through the road — it looks like something out of the Wild West.”
It costs an average of £53 to fix a pothole, but resurfacing a stretch of road can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
As a condition of the government funding, all repair work must be completed by the end of March, 2015.
In addition, the council will need to publish quarterly updates to let residents know how many potholes or roads have been resurfaced with the funding.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said improving roads would in turn help the growth and prosperity of areas such as Bolton.
He added: “Potholes are the bane of all our lives and the funding is an important step in ridding our roads of this menace.”