Jetpatcher out in May to fill Central Bedfordshire potholes, but money spent on repairs has nearly halved since 2010/11

The pothole on the canal bridge, Linslade
The pothole on the canal bridge, Linslade

A near half million pound boost has been given to Central Beds Council for fixing potholes in the district.

The money is particularly timely given a Freedom of Information Act request to CBC which has shown that the amount of money spent by the council in recent years has taken a dive.

Back in 2010/11, CBC spent £8.33m on resurfacing and fixing potholed roads, but that figure had nearly halved, to £4.64m, in 2017/18.

And the amount of compensation paid by the council to drivers who have suffered vehicle damage /injury as a result of potholes or uneven surfaces has also fallen significantly.

In 2011-12 a total of £322,198 was paid out, but that fell to just £30,526 in 2016-17.

Andrew Selous, MP for South West Beds, has welcomed the Goverment’s latest £495,565 allocation to Central Beds specifically for road repairs.

He said this was on top of the £75 million of funding already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as the additional £46 illion boost for highways authorities announced just before Christmas.

He said: “The state of our roads remains a great source of frustration for drivers, especially after the unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather – it’s one of the biggest issues that’s raised with me on the doorsteps.

“This new funding is welcome news for families and businesses in Central Bedfordshire who rely on our roads to get around.

“I’m glad that the Government is investing to improve the standard of our local roads – delivering on our commitment to build an economy fit for the future.”

A Central Beds Council spokesman said it had programme its Jetpatcher to be used across the district during May.

She said: “We use a Jetpatcher machine to conveniently fill potholes ‘on the go’. This is the main way we repair potholes following the winter season, although we do also use more conventional methods throughout the year.

“During 2017 the Jetpatcher repaired more than 20,000 potholes and we get more than 2,500 reports of potholes every month from online reporting by residents.

“This winter is widely believed to be one of the coldest that England has suffered for a number of years. The ‘freeze then thaw’ weather cycle damages road surfaces and invariably leads to more potholes.

“So we were really pleased to hear just under an extra half million pounds will be allocated to us specifically for potholes.”

Meanwhile, a resident has submitted another Freedom of Information Act request to CBC wishing to know the number of times the pothole on the canal bridge in Leighton Buzzard has been filled since since the bridge’s refurbishment in 2010, and the cost of these repairs.

Last week, the LBO reported that the bridge had been patched up once again, but the filling material had failed within 24 hours.

CBC said its engineers were working on a long-term solution which would involve increasing the depth of the road surface and waterproofing it.