Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Councils braced for pothole costs

Councils are getting ready to repair a huge number of potholes

Major and costly repairs are planned for potholes on roads damaged by ice and snow in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

Buckinghamshire County council is paying an extra £18,000 per week for six more gangs to help the nine already dedicated to pothole repairs.

A spokeswoman said it was already over its £1.2m road maintenance budget.

Hertfordshire Highways has had 30 teams out each day fixing holes that have formed during the cold weather.

Survey teams

Stuart Pile, Hertfordshire's executive member for highways and transport, said: "We are anticipating that the damage will be serious and costly to repair.

"Once the snow and ice on the roads has thawed, we will be sending out teams to survey the roads so we can start to work out which areas are most in need of repair.

"Last year's successful short-term recovery campaign, when we fixed over 15,000 potholes, cost about £1.1m."

Transport minister Lord Adonis said he had directed the Highways Agency to conserve "the maximum possible salt usage each day" while maintaining the safe operation of the national motorway and trunk road network.

The Highways Agency is to further reduce its salt usage as a measure to conserve salt stocks and help manage supplies.

Conserving salt

This reduction is in addition to a 25% reduction in salt usage which came into effect last week.

Derek Turner, network operations director at the Highways Agency, said: "We will be reducing our salt usage further, following a wholesale revision of our detailed treatment regime.

"The measures we are taking reflect the need to conserve salt stocks to improve our resilience to handle any further deterioration in the weather both locally and nationally.

"To make best use of our salt supplies we are no longer directly treating motorway hard shoulders where our salt spreaders can be adjusted to treat running lanes only."

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