Getting Dorset’s roads winter ready

Additional money is being invested in to Dorset’s roads by Dorset County Council to get them ready for winter.

The Shadow Dorset Council executive committee has approved the county council cabinet decision to push an extra £1.4m into road maintenance this financial year, aimed at repairing more of the damage left by Storm Emma and ‘The Beast from the East’ earlier this year.

Between January and June this year 16,052 defects were reported and 14,538 were repaired, up from 12,240 reported in the same period in 2017, with 11,540 repaired.

An additional programme of patching and resurfacing work is being drawn up by county council engineers based on inspection information and reports by members of the public. The first of these repairs will get underway on Monday 24 September.

Alongside road repairs, the money will fund an extra gully emptier to carry out a programme of highway drain clearance across Dorset’s C and D class roads. This will help prevent flooding – ensuring rural communities remain connected during the winter – and will protect roads from water damage.

Councillor Daryl Turner, cabinet member for the natural and built environment, said: “For the first time in many years, Dorset’s highway network has seen an increase in the number of roads in need of maintenance.

“Our highway infrastructure is not only the lifeline of Dorset’s businesses but is relied upon by nearly every resident, however they travel, and we must ensure we maintain our roads as best we can within our current resources.

“Investing this additional money into our network will see an immediate improvement in the condition of many roads and will improve accessibility for all drivers.”

This year, Dorset County Council is already spending over £10m on highway maintenance, investing £4m in road resurfacing, £3m in road surface dressing, £1.8m in reactive repairs, £650,000 in planned patching works, £500,000 in drainage maintenance, £500,000 in footway repairs. Plus the extra £1.4m approved earlier this week.

On top of this, the Department for Transport allocated nearly £2.25m to Dorset County Council from its Pothole Action Fund following the extreme winter weather conditions. This has been invested in permanent patching or resurfacing repairs to damaged roads.

Cllr Turner said: “We are committed to maintaining the condition of our network and will continue to focus on repairing the sections of road with the most damage, as well as prioritising our busiest roads and those that link to businesses or to market and coastal towns to help our economy thrive.

“There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into investigating road damage and designing the right repair to maximise our resources, as well as the hard labour of the repair work itself, and I’d like to thank the teams within Dorset Highways for all their work under these difficult financial pressures.”