Roads listed after £5m repairs boost

Previous roadworks on the A583 near Kirkham, part of which will benefit from improvements over the next nine months
Previous roadworks on the A583 near Kirkham, part of which will benefit from improvements over the next nine months

Roads in Fylde and Wyre will benefit from repairs over the next nine months after highways chiefs were handed an extra £5m cashpot to prevent and fill in potholes.

A £141,000 scheme to improve skid resistance on the A585 at Kirkham between Ribby Road and Fleetwood Road and to strengthen Peg’s Lane near Ballam will take place before the end of August.

Improvements will also be made to the A583 Kirkham bypass from the dual carriageway to the traffic signals at Freckleton Road, and to a small section of the B5192 Blackpool Road between the A583 and New Hey Lane junctions.

The treatment, known as ‘surface dressing’ involves repairing the surface with tar and chippings to seal it and prevent water damage.

In Wyre, there will be surface dressing of Moss Lane in Myerscough, the A586 at Great Eccleston and on the A6 at Garstang from Snapewood Lane to Middle Holly Road.

Fleetwood Road in Fleetwood, and Garstang Road in Pilling, will be resurfaced.

Lancashire County Council was one of just three councils across the country singled out for praise by the Department for Transport last week after being awarded £4.9m towards the first year of a 15-year plan to improve its roads by 
focusing more on preventing them falling into disrepair.

That is £2m more than it usually receives and in the long run it is hoped the cash will help it to clear a growing backlog of work and reduce its repair bill.

It says the cash will also enable it to fix more than 30,000 extra potholes in the current financial year – around 92,000 compared to 60,000 in 2013/14, which included 6,978 in Wyre and 3,079 in Fylde.

The council is now aiming to fix potholes within 20 working days rather than the current 30 days.

The first five-year phase of the council’s Transport Asset Management Plan (TAMP) will focus on improving A, B and C roads and pavements. The second will target residential and rural unclassified roads, and the third will turn its attention to bridges, street lights and traffic lights.

County Coun John Fillis, the council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Our analysis showed that in general the roads were getting worse year on year and west Lancashire is one of the areas most affected due to coastal flooding.

“Treatments like surface dressing cost more than just patching a road up in the short term. But we are going to do more of them because they save money in the long run by extending the period a road needs resurfacing by 
10-15 years.

“Preventing problems from occuring benefits local people and it is also good for the economy because businesses want to move into areas where they can get people and goods in and out easily.

“If we can show the Government our plan is providing value for money there is a chance we could be successful in bidding for more extra resources next year.”

The council says the plan is necessary because, in future years, it is expecting to receive just £25m in Government funding for highways maintenance – £10m less than the amount needed just to keep the repairs backlog at its current level.

Its total highways maintenance budget has fallen from nearly £58m in 2011/12 to just over £48m in the current financial year as a result of efficiencies made following Government cuts.

Coun Fillis said the majority of roads were in a “reasonable” condition, adding that the council was in some ways more concerned about the state of some of the footpaths and cycleways, given its aim of encouraging walking and cycling.

County-wide figures show the number of people making personal injury claims against the council due to slips and trips has increased from 108 in 2011/12 to 479 in 2013/14, 
although the authority claims this is due to the growth of the legal industry around such claims. The amount it has paid out has fallen from £1m to £103,000 during this time, although not all claims have been closed. It says it is now successfully defending more claims.