Lincolnshire’s highways team plans ahead for 2024

Lincolnshire County Council’s highways team is optimistically planning to build on its “successes” from 2023.
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Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “Over the past year, our team has delivered a huge amount of work across the county and we’re seeing a real turn of the corner in what we’re doing from a highways perspective.

“In fact, 2023 was a really productive year for us, despite the cost pressures our highways team faced thanks to inflation and reduced funding from Central Government.

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“Not only did we fill over 110,000 potholes last year, but we also rebuilt 77 miles of footpath and 224 miles of road, while cleaning nearly over 192,000 drains. These excellent results are down to lots of hard work and the clever execution of work programmes by our dedicated crews.

Potholes in need of repair on King Edwards Street, off Grantham Road in Sleaford.Potholes in need of repair on King Edwards Street, off Grantham Road in Sleaford.
Potholes in need of repair on King Edwards Street, off Grantham Road in Sleaford.

“But, even though what we achieved is terrific, we want to do even more this year.”

However the highways department and its contractors have come in for criticism this week since a programme of pothole repairs was carried out along Grantham Road in Sleaford Sunday morning.

Residents quickly took to social media to complain about what they saw as poor, inadequate repairs, with ill-fitting lumps of tarmac pressed into holes without being sealed with tar around the edges. Some were already noted to be crumbling away at the edges and people did not expect the repairs to last very long.

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One Quarrington resident commented: “After watching the Lincolnshire highways / council repair the potholes on Grantham Road on Sunday, I was appalled by the quality of their work. They filled a deep hole with some black material, threw some liquid on top and tapped it down with a small machine. Today, Monday, I drove down to the station and noticed that they had repaired numerous potholes with the same material, unfortunately some of these patches are already breaking up and it shouldn’t be long before we are back to where we started. The large pothole near Rookery Avenue has already broken up and will need attention within a few weeks, once the week day lorries start up. Is this the best use of the taxpayers hard earned money?”

Lincolnshire County Council's campaign for fairer funding for roads.Lincolnshire County Council's campaign for fairer funding for roads.
Lincolnshire County Council's campaign for fairer funding for roads.

Richard Fenwick, Head of Highways Assets at LCC, said: “We recently carried out a series of safety repairs on Grantham Road and will continue to do so as and when issues are reported.

“Due to the nature of the defects and their proximity to the level crossing, these were infill repairs only. This ensures the surface is safe for road users with minimal disruption while we plan for more permanent repairs.

“In this case, Grantham Road is set to benefit from an upcoming £1m resurfacing scheme, which will greatly improve the road's surface quality and durability once complete. However, in the meantime, we'll be on site later this week to assess whether any remedial works are required.

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“We encourage anyone wanting to report potholes, drainage problems or other issues to do so via FixMyStreet.”

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill.Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill.
Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill.

The county council expects in 2024 to:

  • Fix around 110,500 potholes
  • Repair 290 miles of roads
  • Rebuild 101 miles of footpaths
Coun Richard Davies, executive county councillor for highways.Coun Richard Davies, executive county councillor for highways.
Coun Richard Davies, executive county councillor for highways.
  • Clean around 200,000 drains

Coun Davies added: “I absolutely do not want to send mixed messages. Many of our roads are in a dire state. In fact, we’d need £400 million to tackle the existing issues we know of and bring all of our roads and pavements up to standard.

“That’s why our focus for 2024 is to build upon 2023’s successes by filling the same amount of, if not more, potholes while repairing even more roads and footpaths and cleaning even more drains.

“In a nutshell, we want to keep chipping away at the number of roads and footpaths that are in disrepair throughout the county.

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“Although there’s no quick and easy fix for the highways issues we face, we can continue taking some cautious steps in the right directions thanks to an additional £262 million in highways funding allocated to us by the DfT.”

In February 2024, the current Government announced a pledge to use reallocated HS2 funding to further increase the county’s highways allocation by £262 million over seven years.

Prior to that, in late 2023, the DfT also allocated Lincolnshire County Council a total of £9.8 million in extra highways maintenance funding over two years, through to March 2025.

Coun Davies continued: “This seven-year commitment for roughly £37 million a year extra will mean a 30-40 per cent increase in our maintenance budget over that time. That will most definitely allow us to build on the work we're currently doing.

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“We very much look forward to understanding more about this funding in the coming months, including whether it will be guaranteed following the next general election. From there, we’ll look forward to having our local MPs on side so we can make the most of what's being offered.”

Lincolnshire County Council launched its ‘Fix our funding to fix our roads’ campaign in late 2021, which saw a major push by county councillors for Central Government to reinstate stripped back roads funding. The successful initiative encouraged residents to write to their local MPs, demanding fairer funding for Lincolnshire’s roads. Executive councillors also wrote to the Secretary of State for Transport and lobbied to Central Government for a change in highways funding allocations.

Coun Martin Hill, Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: "It's quite refreshing to see Lincolnshire not getting overlooked, especially since we’ve been fighting for fairer roads funding for years.

“Our hope now is that whoever wins the next general election follows through on the commitment of boosting our highways funding by £262 million over the next seven years. We are in desperate need of this extra allocation and it would most definitely be put to good use towards improving the state of our vast road network.

"We’re a large rural county and our residents place a huge amount of importance on well-maintained roads – something we’re doing our absolute best to deliver.”