GALLERY: Council makes urgent plea for �10 million to tackle county’s drought affected roads
THE Government is to be asked to provide up to �10million to fund urgent repairs to dozens of Cambridgeshire roads- mostly in Fenland - and all deteriorating rapidly because of the drought.
Up to a tenth of Cambridgeshire roads have been adversely affected by drought damage, says a county council report.
“The council has identified a total of 162 sites where there has been significant damage caused to the road network that is attributable to the severe drought within the Fenland area.”
The council says that to fully address the damage “is beyond anything planned when the maintenance programme was developed. The scale of the damage is such that it is beyond what could be funded locally.”
If the council was forced to divert cash away from other planned work it would have “a detrimental affect on the remainder of the network.”
Roads affected include:
* B141 Westmoor Common, Little Downham, suffering subsidence and where speed limits have been introduced.
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* B1093 Benwick Road, Whittlesey, severe cracking
* A1123 Hill Row Causeway, Haddenham, cracks and subsidence.
* B1104 Prickwillow Road, Isleham depressions and subsidence
* B1098 Sixteenfoot Bank, Christchurch, severe subsidence adjacent to main drain
* C128 West Fen Road/Green Drove, Coveney, subsidence.
The county council has joined forces with four other local authorities across the region to assess the level of damage to the highway network and submit bids for government funding to carry out repairs.
In Cambridgeshire the drought has damaged some 414 kilometres of the 4,342 kilometres of roads which are the responsibility of the county council. Although the impact of the drought has been greatest in the Fenland area, roads in non Fenland areas have also been damaged.
Councillor Steve Criswell, Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, said: “The state of some roads in Cambridgeshire is causing us real concern. The persistent drought means the soil shrinks under the road surface which cracks and becomes uneven, making the road less safe for all users.
“We are in a similar situation to our neighbouring authorities and feel that taking a common approach to the identification of the worst roads puts us in a stronger position to bid for additional money to help tackle this exceptional problem.”
Lincolnshire County Council has submitted a bid to DfT for �6.5m. Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and Peterborough City Council are expected to make their bids imminently.
Cllr Criswell, added: “I am hopeful that the Government will recognise the scale of the drought which has had such an impact on the highway network not just in Cambridgeshire, but across the whole of the region.”