UK Department for Transport approves £201m to resurface roads

The UK Department for Transport (DfT) has sanctioned £201m for councils in England to undertake road maintenance and pothole repairs.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said that an additional £50m has been given to councils for potholes and flood resilience, while £151m has been allocated to reward examples of best practice, funding that could resurface more than 1,000 miles of road.

The funding is part of the £6.6bn that the UK Government has been providing in the six years leading up to 2021 to improve local roads.

DfT will fund early-stage research on new surface materials or pothole repair techniques, including 3D printing. The research funding is part of the government’s plan to prevent potholes in the future.

Additionally, a digital hub will be established for experts to share and develop innovations.

Grayling said: “Every motorist knows that potholes have been a problem in the last few years. That is why the government is continuing to step up its funding to local authorities to address this.

“It is now up to highways authorities to innovate and use new technologies to solve the problem.”

The investment is in addition to £725m that local authorities will receive in 2019-20, based on the infrastructure they maintain, including the length of roads, number of bridges and street lights.

According to DfT, the government has spent more than £420m on resurfacing, pothole repairs and bridge renewals in the past six months.

DfT, together with Cumbria County Council and highway survey company Gaist, is also testing low-cost sensors to monitor river levels across the region to reduce the risk of flood damage in the future.

In the north-east, Lincolnshire council and partner ENGIE have launched a heat and recycle system that mixes new and existing surfaces to create a thermo-bond and cut down any possibility for weak points that create potholes.

Furthermore, the government is funding a number of initiatives to test new technologies to develop pothole-free roads.

Technologies being developed or tested include the use of kinetic energy to heat surfaces, recycle plastic waste into a harder-wearing surface or install sensors to foresee any issues that might occur in the future.