Maintenance of Wiltshire's roads is 'a big fight'

Image caption,
Wiltshire Council spends an average of £25 to repair each pothole

Maintaining Wiltshire's roads has been a "big fight" according to the council's deputy leader.

John Thompson, said previous decisions to cut highway funding to help support education had impacted on Wiltshire Council's road network.

The county has been given an extra £1.5m of government cash to help repair potholes on its roads.

Last week the government said English councils would be given an extra £100m to repair frost-damaged roads.

Mr Thompson said his authority was still struggling with a backlog of potholes.

"Once you don't maintain the top surfaces of roads the moisture and damp gets into the base and you pay for it later," he said.

The Conservative-run authority said it spent an average of £25 to repair each pothole and has spent nearly £1m during the current financial year on "reactive" maintenance.

Potholes are formed when water gets into cracks in the road surface.

When this freezes the ice expands which splits the surface.

The weight of traffic then causes further damage to the road covering.

Swindon Borough Council is still waiting to hear whether it will get any of the government money.

A spokesman at the Conservative-led council said the authority had filled in more than 6,000 potholes in 2010, at an average cost of £19.

Its highways maintenance budget for 2010-11 is £1.4m.

The spokesman said it did not believe the authority had sufficient funding to cover road repairs.

"We have a backlog of approximately 800 roads requiring resurfacing," he said.

"However, we have a capital programme of approximately £2.7m per annum to address this issue in the meantime, within the highways maintenance budget, to ensure these roads are kept safe."

The £100m of government cash has been found from savings elsewhere and will be distributed based on the amount and condition of roads a local authority maintains.

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