The managing director of Sunderland-based road preservation specialist Velocity has welcomed the government’s near-£4 million North-East pothole fund – but insists it is a “drop in the ocean” in terms of tackling a problem that blights road-users across the region.
The Department of Transport has allocated the cash for councils to repair an estimated 74,000 potholes across the North-East during 2017-18.
Velocity, whose hi-tech machines can permanently repair a pothole in about two minutes, has repaired more than two million potholes across the UK over the past five years.
Managing director Dominic Gardner praised the government for their long-term planning in a difficult economic climate but stressed that £4 million was “not nearly enough”.
“This funding isn’t going to save Britain’s roads,” said Gardner. “The Local Government Association has already estimated that £11.8billion is needed to bring the nation’s roads up to scratch.
“And last year 14 authorities across the region estimated they will have to spend £1.4 billion to complete outstanding work on highways.
“But the fact that the fund has been allocated so early means there is time for plans to be put in place by the local authorities concerned.”
Velocity’s road preservation crews can each repair up to 200 potholes per day.
The company has worked on extensive road repair programmes with local authorities in Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Devon and Thurrock this year.
It is now looking to work with more North-East councils to ensure its innovative repair process and preventative treatments are utilised to tackle the region’s pothole repair backlog.
Gardner said: “Clearly, we hope the North-East authorities will choose to utilise some of those new funds with Velocity because we know could have a very significant impact in terms of improving road conditions across the region.
“As recognised highways experts, our skills have been utilised extensively by several large local authorities over the past 12 months but none of them have been here in our native North-East.
“So we’re a proud North-East company that spends of most of its time fixing the roads in other parts of the country.
“What we can offer them is not a quick-fix but cost-effective, long-term repairs.”
How the government’s pothole fund is to be spent in the North-East, according to the Department of Transport:
County Durham, £931,000 for 17,600 pothole repairs
Darlington £133,000 for 2,500 pothole repairs
Gateshead £201,000 for 3,800 pothole repairs
Hartlepool £98,000 for 1,900 pothole repairs
Middlesbrough £106,000 for 2,000 pothole repairs
Newcastle upon Tyne £213,000 for 4,000 pothole repairs
North Tyneside £191,000 for 3,600 pothole repairs
Northumberland £1,328,000 for 25,100 pothole repairs
Redcar and Cleveland £177,000 for 3,300 pothole repairs
South Tyneside £132,000 for 2,500 pothole repairs
Stockton-on-Tees £194,000 for 3,700 pothole repairs
Sunderland £260,000 for 4,900 pothole repairs