County to fight a holey war

Potholes in Lancaster are causing a headache for motorists in Lancaster.
Potholes in Lancaster are causing a headache for motorists in Lancaster.

Roads and pavements in the Lancaster district will be in a “noticeably better state” in five years’ time under a new plan announced by Lancashire County Council.

The council was singled out for praise by the Department for Transport last week and it won £4.9m extra for its bid based on improving roads over the medium to long term.

The new plan will bring a fresh approach to maintaining the state of roads, street lights, traffic signals, bridges and other vital structures, focused on the need to improve aging infrastructure with a reduced budget.

County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Our highway network is vital to the health of our economy and people’s ability to go about their everyday lives.

“But we face a number of challenges to maintain it.

The cold and wet weather of recent years has taken its toll on the condition of our infrastructure, set against a climate of severe financial austerity with £300m being cut from the council’s budget in the next four years, and increased expectations from residents and businesses.

“The Transport Asset Management Plan (TAMP) has been drawn up in response to these challenges and provides a sound 15-year plan which addresses the needs of our highway assets in the most efficient and effective manner and is based on intervening at the right time with the right treatment.”

The transport plan will see priority given to revamping particular parts of the network during each of three phases, which will result in everything being improved, and maintenance backlogs slashed by 2029/30.

The first five-year phase will focus on improving A, B and C roads and pavements, the second phase will target residential and rural unclassified roads, and the third phase will tackle bridges, street lights and traffic signals.

Part of the plan is to gather better data on the condition of infrastructure, which will be regularly updated.