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Column 11th March 2020

Shires losing out to London when it comes to pothole cash

One of the regular topics of conversation across the entire country is the number of potholes on our roads.

A new report from the County Councils Network found that in this financial year the shire counties had, as compared to London, about a third of the money to spend per mile on road repairs, pothole filling and the construction of new junctions and road networks.

Leaders of county authorities are calling for a fair share of the government’s new £2bn pothole fund and a long-term commitment to ‘level up’ investment.

The figures show that the 36 shire counties in the analysis were able to spend £20,885 per mile last year. In contrast, the 31 councils in London were able to spend £62,350 per mile.

Oxfordshire County Council is responsible for 2,994 miles of roads of which 15 percent are A roads; 10 percent are B roads and the majority are C or unclassified roads.

Don’t forget that these are only the roads adopted by the County Highways team – many roads remain private and not included in these figures.

The County is trialling a graphene-enhanced asphalt to see if this will extend the lifespan of the road surface and prevent cracks emerging during cold and wet weather.

Last November, a 750m stretch of road in Curbridge was resurfaced (one lane using conventional materials, while the opposite ‘trial’ lane was resurfaced using the new asphalt). The test should last 2 years.

Let’s hope the recent spell of wet weather is giving it a good test – all we need now is a couple of really cold weeks to let it freeze and thaw a few times.

If you look at Charlton Road at the moment most of the problem is not the resurfacing which was done several years ago but the underlying dips and crevices.

Anyway, potholes should be reported using https://fixmystreet.oxfordshire.gov.uk/ or if they are really severe by phoning 0345 310 1111.

The Corporate Plan approved by the County Council last month shows that the road maintenance programme for the County is only budgeted at £30,721,000 for 2020-21 (not including major investments).

We have been expecting changes to Featherbed Lane for several years but most of this work isn’t scheduled until 2022-23.

Science Vale Cycle Network Improvements are planned for 2020-21 so we might see improvements to the cycleway to Harwell Campus.

We should also see the Crab Hill Wantage Eastern Link Road built in the next 2-3 years.


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