Blitz to fix pothole backlog

A £3 million blitz to tackle a backlog of 14,000 potholes across Liverpool is set to take place between now and the summer.

A report to the council’s Cabinet says the condition of the road network has deteriorated at a far faster rate than envisaged, leading to a significant amount of outstanding highways defects that have not been tackled in the target time of 25 days.

As well as an increase in complaints, there has been a rise in the number of claims received and it now accounts for 90 percent of all legal claims, compared to 70 percent several years ago.

Around £1 million will be spent in each of the north, south and central/east parts of the city, with work in each area starting almost immediately and being completed within three months.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “I can see myself as I am travelling around the city that we need to take immediate action to deal with the potholes. That’s why we’ve decided to prioritise tackling this issue as a matter of urgency and are also looking at how we can do more in the future.

“We have a £269 million backlog of road repairs built up over many years and only receive around £3 million each year from the Government which doesn’t even scratch the surface. That is why I am going to be raising this problem with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin when I meet him next week to make the case for areas outside London receiving more investment funding.

“The fact is that we don’t get enough money to keep up with the maintenance of the roads we are legally responsible for which means we can’t even begin to look at the 37 miles of unadopted routes in the city, many of which are in a very bad condition.”

The investment is in addition to the £80 million that the council is spending over the next five years improving main routes in the city and the annual resurfacing programme for local roads most in need of replacement funded by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Every councillor knows from their surgeries and emails that potholes are one of the biggest areas of complaints from residents.

“They cause inconvenience for motorists, are a danger to cyclists, give a bad impression to visitors and leave us open to increased compensation claims.

“Doing nothing is not an option as the situation will just get even worse, so we are going to be appointing a contractor to launch an intensive programme of repairs to eradicate the backlog and make a significant difference to the quality of the road network.”

The cost of the work will be offset using contributions from developers undertaking regeneration projects and utilities companies as well as future savings in public liability claims and the reduced need for repairs.

The report will be considered on Friday 18 March.