Devon and Cornwall floods 'to cost millions' in road repairs

Pot holes in road
Image caption Recent flooding has damaged roads

Repairs to roads in Devon and Cornwall damaged by recent heavy rain, flooding and landslips will cost millions of pounds, according to county councils.

In Devon, damage estimated at £10m to repair has been caused to routes across the county.

Cornwall Council said it was facing a £3.5m bill for repairs after November's storms. It added it anticipated damage in December would cost a similar sum.

Plymouth City Council expects long-term costs of up to £3m.

Torbay is still working out repair costs.

People have been asked to report potholes to their local authority.

Devon saw flooding across much of the county, with hundreds of people's homes damaged by rising waters.

In Stoke Canon, Exeter, 25 people were led to safety by emergency services after the River Exe burst its banks.

Bridges lost

The centre of the village of Braunton was left under several feet of water the weekend before Christmas.

The leader of Conservative-run Devon County Council, John Hart, says members of the council "don't know" where money to carry out repairs will come from.

"At the moment, it looks as if it is £10m and increasing on the amount of backlog maintenance to get our roads back," he said.

"We've lost at least six bridges, which is something we've never envisaged before.

"What we will be doing is lobbying our members of parliament for as much help as possible in order to reinstate roads that, quite frankly, no longer exist in places."

Cornwall Council said the flooding had caused "considerable damage to Cornwall's highways and environment network, weakening roads and creating potholes and landslips across the county".

'Cost implications'

A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said: "It is difficult to be totally accurate on the costs as we do not yet know the full picture of damage caused but we do know this will put a significant increased pressure on our highways maintenance budget.

"We expect the immediate costs of temporarily repairing these recently created potholes will be in the region of £250,000.

"However in many cases this will not provide a long-term solution and we are assessing the cost implications of more permanent repairs/patches that will be required."

She said the government's announcement in December that Plymouth would receive an extra £383,000 for essential road maintenance in the 2013-14 financial year was "a fraction of the investment required".

"A current best estimate of overall damage to the network and longer-term permanent repair costs would be around £2m to £3m," she added.

"The picture will become clearer once we have had an opportunity to fully inspect the network. We are also experiencing an increase in drainage defects, which will further add to this pressure."

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