£10m shortfall for county roads, council reveals

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Transport experts predict Lancashire is facing a £10m annual shortfall in the cash it needs to bring its road network up to scratch.

A report detailing Lancashire County Council’s investment strategy over the next 15 years has revealed £35m a year is required, but only £25m is likely to be available from government.

So County Hall bosses have admitted they will need to be more creative in their approach to repairs and maintenance to ensure the network is fit for purpose between 2015 and 2030.

And by adopting a philosophy of “prevention is better than cure” they hope to keep ahead of the game when it comes to investment.

The authority’s new Transport Asset Management Plan (TAMP) reveals a fundamental switch from tackling road repairs on a “worst first” basis. In future LCC says it will concentrate its resources on taking preventative measures to ensure roads, footpaths, bridges, street lighting and traffic signals are upgraded before they suffer breakdown.

The TAMP report explains: “Analysis indicates the county council requires approximately £35m per annum to maintain all its transport assets to their 2013 levels. The direct allocation likely to be received from central government via the Department of Transport is £25m per annum. This funding shortfall provides a real challenge to do more, or even the same, with less.

“In the last few years we have experienced a number of severe weather events – long, very cold winters and flood events – which have had an impact on the network and accelerated the deterioration of our assets.

“Key maintenance backlogs will be reduced over a 10 to 15 year period.”

The council estimates it will need to spend £8m on patching and surface dressing 100km of roads a year. Residential and rural roads will cost another £5m a year, bridges £6m and lighting £4m.