Appeal for fund to fix St Albans broken roads
EMERGENCY funding is being sought from the government by the county council in order to tackle the damage to local roads following the recent snow and ice. Cllr Stuart Pile, the executive member for highways, admitted that the county council faced a huge
EMERGENCY funding is being sought from the government by the county council in order to tackle the damage to local roads following the recent snow and ice.
Cllr Stuart Pile, the executive member for highways, admitted that the county council faced a huge bill for the maintenance and repair of roads as a result of the conditions in December and January.
But he was not optimistic that the government would respond to the request for emergency funding which many other local authorities had applied for.
Cllr Pile said: "This winter is still not over and we are predicting a �1 million or more overspend in winter maintenance costs plus an additional bill for emergency repairs to roads."
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He went on: "We, along with many other local authorities, have asked government for emergency funding to cover this bill, but have still not had any reassurance that we will be compensated."
So far, �6 million extra funding has been earmarked to carry out emergency work to repair potholes opened up by the freeze/thaw conditions and Cllr Pile pointed out that the repair bill for county's roads after the February 2009 snow was equivalent to one whole year's repair bill - some �13 million.
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He said there were more than 30 teams currently out on the highway doing both emergency work and batched permanent pothole repairs.
The opposition Lib-Dem group said that it would be prepared to pump an additional �12 million into repairing the winter damage to roads.
Group leader Cllr Chris White was also critical of the degree to which the county council was ready for the cold weather.
Claiming nothing had been learnt from the lessons of the previous year's severe weather, he said: "Research on salt stock levels by my group has shown that no attempt was made last autumn to stockpile salt: the quantity in store was more or less the same as the autumn of 2008.
But Cllr Pile said the maximum quantity of salt that could be stored was 12,000 tonnes which was almost the amount they had in stock in November 2008 and 2009.
He added: "Further to this, we did not believe the Met Office forecast of 'only a one-in-seven chance of a cold winter' so we actually ordered more salt in early December.
"We have managed to keep enough salt in stock throughout the winter, contrary to the very misleading reports put out by Lib Dem councillors, and although we are now being rationed by the government's Salt Cell operation, we are still able to grit all the A and B roads and emergency access roads to hospitals, etc..