Dorset Council reveals plans for £9m highways investment

tarmacing roadDORSET Council has set out how it will spend £9.1million fixing and upgrading roads, and preventing potholes.

Officers in Dorset Council’s Highways team are asking Cabinet to approve plans to invest £9.1million toward repairing some of Dorset’s worst roads and improving others.

On May 14, the Secretary of State for Transport announced a £1.7billion funding allocation to Combined Authorities and Local Highway Authorities for 2020/21 through the newly created Transport Infrastructure Investment Fund.

Dorset’s share of this additional funding amounts to about £9.1million, with £7.7million awarded by the Department for Transport (DfT) in the form of a Pothole Action Fund specifically to tackle the issue of potholes; investing in both carriageway repairs and preventative treatments.

The council’s Highways Executive Advisory Panel, made up of elected members from across the political divide and chaired by Cllr Cherry Brooks, has worked alongside officers to determine how the money should be spent most effectively to support Dorset’s road network.

The additional funding is also intended to kick start the construction industry and wider economy, assisting in the authority’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, and flood damage arising from the winter.

The proposal to invest the £7,718,615 Pothole Action Fund is as follows:

  • £5,068,615 to accelerate capital resurfacing programme, focused on some of Dorset’s worst strategic roads
  • £2,000,000 into the most damaged, minor roads where a significant proportion of our reactive defects are experienced
  • £300,000 on the B3078 Stanbridge carriageway edge retention
  • £200,000 investment into drainage dig downs and repair
  • £150,000 investment into digging ditches

Investing in drainage infrastructure and preventing the formation of water on the highway, plays an important role in protecting the county’s roads from the impacts of potholes.

The investment of these capital funds will also help address network resilience issues arising from the impacts of climate change.

Highways teams are now committed to lower energy asphalts, recycling and surface treatments, as well as investment in low energy bulbs for street lighting and traffic control which will help reduce carbon emissions.

There are also further proposals to invest £1,393,385 into the following schemes:

  • £450,000 Longham Bridge design
  • £349,272 Wareham A351 pedestrian cycle link
  • £390,000 street lighting LED upgrades, saving £160,000 revenue each year by 2030 and £320,000 per year by 2040, with a total carbon saving of 2,600 tonnes
  • £204,113 traffic control and ITS LED retrofit, saving £27,117 revenue funding per year, and 86 tonnes of carbon per year

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “We’re delighted to be able to share our plans for how we intend to spend this much-welcome investment from central government.

“As a rural county, our road network is vital to Dorset residents and it’s imperative we enable people to be able to get around safely.

The Department for Transport is allocating over £112million to the South West, enough to fix around two million potholes in 2020/21, or to stop them forming in the first place.

“Our Highways team works incredibly hard to look after our roads and this funding will give them a welcome boost in resources to deal with maintenance issues faster than before.”


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