MOTORISTS plagued by potholes will get some relief thanks to an extra £3million to repair damaged roads in Wearside and County Durham.
The Government announced a doubling of funding for road cavity repairs in the Budget, to help cope with the damage done by severe winter weather at the end of 2010.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has now written to local authorities to confirming how they will benefit. Sunderland Council will get £613,749 and Durham County Council will get £2,318,987.
He said: “Potholes are a menace to all road users and I want councils to make fixing them a priority.
“That is why, when more funding became available, I agreed with the Chancellor that we would double the amount of money we are providing for repairs to be carried out.
“This represents a significant investment in road maintenance at a time of severe fiscal restraint, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to maintain our infrastructure to support motorists and businesses.”
The Department for Transport announced £100million as an “exceptional payment” to help with much-needed road repairs.
Since then, ministers say further savings have been found, making more money available for “vital” pothole repairs.
The announcement comes after Sunderland Conservatives called for work to improve Market Square in the city centre to be scrapped, saying that the £800,000 earmarked for work there spent on road resurfacing instead.
Speaking after Mr Hammond’s announcement, city Tory group leader Councillor Tony Morrissey said: “That’s tremendous news. It’s fantastic that we’re getting that. I think it’s about double what the council has earmarked for fixing potholes.”
Coun Morrissey wants to see certain roads completely resurfaced as a more permanent solution to filling in potholes.
He suggested the council could use the money it set aside for pothole repairs to carry out resurfacing of complete stretches of road, keeping the Government cash to fill in road craters left by the winter weather.
Potholes are formed when water in small cracks in the road freezes – expanding and forming a larger cavity.