Repairing Sunderland’s crumbling roads would cost £14million

Potholes on Forest Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland.
Potholes on Forest Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland.
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POTHOLES and crumbling roads on Wearside would cost the Sunderland taxpayer £14million to repair, the Echo can reveal today.

This is the full amount that would be needed if the city’s road network was to be brought up to an acceptable standard.

Potholes in Stannington Grove, Sunderland

Potholes in Stannington Grove, Sunderland

Last year Sunderland City Council spent £2.5million on repairs, just 18 per cent of the total amount needed.

But council bosses say they are constantly working to ensure the city’s road system is as well maintained as possible.

Residents in Hill View, Eden Vale, Ford Estate, Houghton and Hetton have all complained in recent months about the roads close to where they live.

John Ferguson, 36, drives down Forest Road in Ford Estate every day on his way to work.

He said: “I hate to think the damage that’s being done to my car. You get to the stage where you try to avoid the potholes but that could cause an accident.”

Jane Fraser, 53, of Millfield, drives down Aiskell Street on a regular basis.

She said: “It’s the minor roads which are the problem. They seem to do a lot of repair work but there’s always holes round here.”

Councillor Paul Watson, Sunderland City Council leader, said work is regularly carried out to deal with road problems across the city.

He said: “The highway network is the most valuable of the council’s physical assets and both the council and residents place a high priority on its condition.

“A well maintained road network is important for both the local economy and the regeneration of the city.

“The resources the council has invested over the years is a reason the condition of the city’s roads is, and has been consistently for some time, amongst the best in the country, as measured by national indicators.

“The council carries out a programme of resurfacing, patching and footway repair work which prioritise those areas of the network in most need and where the benefit will be the greatest.

“In addition regular highway inspections are undertaken from which any emergency, urgent or routine works are identified and completed, which keeps the city’s roads in a safe and serviceable condition.”

According to figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request, a further £120million would also be needed to fix all the pot holes and dilapidated highways in County Durham.

And Durham County Council spent only seven per cent of the estimated cash needed, spending just £8.5million last year.

Durham also estimated that £66m is needed to fix all pavements and walkways under their authority but last year spent just £2million doing so.

Dave Wilcox, Strategic Highways Manager at Durham County Council, said: “In County Durham, as right across the nation, there is a backlog in bringing the entire highways network, which includes pavements, up to a fully refurbished standard.

“In Durham’s case, the backlog is £180million, which is unrealistic in the current climate. However, the council adopts a proactive and comprehensive inspection regime which spots any dangerous issues and ensures repair within 24 hours.”

Councils spent £90million repairing 1.7 million potholes across England and Wales last year.

lDo you live on Wearside’s worst road? We want to hear from you if your street is in urgent need of repairs. Contact the Echo newsdesk, tel: 501 7208.

Twitter: @tomwhite7