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STOCKTON: Worry over “slow decline” of road network

STOCKTON: Worry over “slow decline” of road network

Credit: Ian Cooper/Teesside Live.

A PROBE honing in on pothole woes in Stockton has called for more cash to be coughed up amid a multi-million pound hole in highways budgets. 

New rubber technology has been used on Chilton Close, in Hardwick, this year as part of a push to find innovative ways of reducing costs to Stockton Council.

But a review by its place select committee has uncovered a stark gap in the authority’s funds to keep the borough’s roads from getting even worse.

A draft final report was presented to councillors last week and showed Stockton received just short of £5.5m for its roads, bridges, paths, and lights in 2020/21.

However, the council has calculated more than £9.5m is needed just to keep these assets from getting any worse.

The report showed the slice of the pie received for roads came to £1.9m in 2020/21 and £1.5m in 2021/22.

But the figure needed to stop roads in the borough getting any worse was £3.2m.

Urging MPs to ask the Government for more cash, using alternatives like rubber roads, and “invest to save” strategies were recommendations rubber-stamped by the panel last week.

Chairman Cllr Chris Barlow believed many of the problems could be solved with more funding.

“That’s one thing which jumps off the page,” he added.

He also feared the “slow decline of the network” being faced in the borough.

Road chiefs at the council oversee 548 miles of highways alongside 400 bridges and structures, more than 29,000 street lights, and 2,100 illuminated signs and bollards.

It is also in charge of looking after 122 miles of public rights of way, 169 traffic signal junctions and 43,000 highway gullies.

It would cost a mammoth £317m to bring all of Stockton’s roads, bridges and highways assets up to a new condition – with almost £81m required for roads alone.

Past meetings heard from highways officers warning the funding they were getting at the moment “simply wasn’t enough”, leading to “tough decisions” on what took priority.

When it came to investing in technology to save on costs, the report revealed the council was trialing a “Roadmender” to reduce pothole repairs from £50 per hole, to between £30-35 per pockmark.

However, rising costs of building materials were also listed as another concern for the authority – a factor which hadn’t been factored into the funding shortfall in the review.

The council receives cash for its roads from the Department for Transport via the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA).

A rejigged hitlist of the worst hit roads in the borough have been earmarked for work before April next year using £400,000 of covid funding.

Beale Close, Norfolk Street, Streatlam Road and Thropton Close are among those being fully resurfaced.

And nine routes have been added to the list for resurfacing.

They are:

  •       Allendale Road, Stockton
  •       Chillingham Court, Billingham
  •       Danby Grove, Thornaby
  •       Earsdon Close, Norton
  •       Easby Grove, Thornaby
  •       Headlam Road, Billingham
  •       Rudby Close, Yarm
  •       West Moor Close, Yarm
  •       Woodford Green, Eaglescliffe

 

Words: Alex Metcalfe, Local Democracy Reporter


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