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£72million - that's what it's going to cost to sort out Thurrock's roads
THURROCK Council reckons it is going to cost £72million to sort out the borough's roads and pathways over the next five years.
And the authority says it will be unable to achieve that.
Officers say they are working "flat out" with the funds they have "to keep the borough’s highways properly maintained and traffic flowing".
But in a report presented to councillors on Wednesday night, it was claimed that minimal investment from the government is hampering the authority's efforts.
The Department for Transport has confirmed the council will receive just £2.8million for tranpsort improvements in Thurrock in 2014/15.
Around £1.2million of that will be spent on transport schemes such as bus priority and £1.6million for bringing the borough's shoddy roads into shape.
An additional £3million per year for road maintenance comes out of the council's coffers. But officers estimate that an extra £7.5million is needed each year for the next five years - for roads alone.
An extra £72million is needed overall.
John Kent, leader of the council, said: "This is a historic problem. There hasn’t been enough investment in our roads system for decades.
"I can remember even before we won unitary status, a councillor saying the government’s investment in Thurrock’s roads amounted to little more than a bucket of tar and a brush.
"Unfortunately nothing seems to have changed – and the situation’s getting worse not better."
The council also announced in the report that in the next year, it will spend £650,000 resurfacing the A1306 at Junction 31 of the M25, the Treaclemine roundabout in Grays, the A126 Dock Road, Grays, the A1306 Arterial Road, Lakeside, London Road, West Thurrock, the Cross Keys junction in Chadwell St Mary and Lodge Lane Grays.
Another £120,000 will be spent on Jesmond Road, Grays, Dolphin Way, Purfleet and Teviot Avenue, Aveley.
He added: "What this report highlights is that all we can do is make-do and mend, when what we should be doing is replacing what we have. Fixing a pothole when it appears only postpones the problem – it will appear again next year or the year after.
"The problem has been made worse as recent winters have either been extremely cold and snowy or very wet like this year. Heavy snow and heavy rain speed up the destruction of road surfaces; despite the savings we have to make. we also have to find a way to pay for investment in our highways."