Essex County Council's £11 million budget to fix weather-hit roads
A COLD winter and hot spring have caused so many crumbling potholes across Essex that the council is ploughing an extra £11 million into its roads to save motorists from accidents.
Despite 50,000 potholes being fixed in the past year, the combination of an icy winter, a heat wave in April and downpours in May have created a large repair bill.
The cash injection is set to be agreed by the county cabinet next week.
"The recent weather extremes have taken a severe toll on our roads and we are determined to get them back to the standard our residents deserve," said Cllr Derrick Louis, cabinet member for highways and transportation at Essex County Council.
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"I understand how frustrating potholes can be, which is why we are determined to fix as many as possible and make sure that they don't return in the future.
"This £11 million confirms our commitment to maintaining and improving the condition of our roads, which we recognise is an absolute priority for businesses and residents across the county."
Repairs will start again this month, with a more extensive strengthening programme in the autumn aimed at trying to reduce road damage in future years.
Routine "surface dressing" of Essex roads will also begin on Monday and cover 17 million square feet of county roads – about five million square feet more than in 2011.
Peter Martin, leader of Essex County Council, said: "The different extremes of weather in recent months have caused damage to the network, so this significant extra investment is required. It confirms our commitment to improving the condition of our county's roads."
Chelmsford MP Simon Burns said: "I am delighted that Essex County Council is once again seeking to invest extra money to repair potholes.
"I have in the past reported a number of potholes in the centre of Chelmsford that need repairing and the county council has been meticulous in carrying out the work."
Residents can ask for damage they see to be repaired at www.essex.gov.uk