An extra £250,000 will be spent on pothole repairs across the district this year as it emerged that money saved on gritting due to the mild winter will now go towards bringing damaged roads up to scratch.
The money is on top of a £575,000 emergency payment announced by the government late last month to help with road repairs following the wettest winter on record.
Exactly where Bradford Council will invest the cash is not yet determined, but a list of priorities will be drawn up shortly by highways bosses.
Some of the £825,000 in total is likely to spent on more strategic routes, while a portion will be shared out among the council’s five area committees, including Keighley – ensuring the cash is divided right across the district.
Councillor Val Slater, the council’s executive member in charge of transport, said this was the first time money had been diverted in this way.
“It struck me when I took over responsibility for highways that if we had had a bad winter we would have to find the money from the rest of the highways budget to cover any extra,” she said.
“So if we didn’t have to buy any extra salt etc, then it would be logical to say we would like to use that money on the roads.
“It won’t cover everything that needs doing, but it is very welcome.”
She added that an annual survey of the district’s roads would be “refreshed” by officers before any decisions were made about exactly where the money would be spent.
The last financial year’s overall road maintenance budget for the authority was £8.9m, compared to £6.5m for 2012/13.
“Along with the rest of the country, our roads are not in a very good state and it would need a very large amount of money and take some time to put them right,” said Coun Slater.
Bradford’s Tories have given a cautious welcome to news of the extra cash. They have urged the highways department to ensure repairs are done properly.
Worth Valley councillor Glen Miller, leader of the Conservative group, said: “I welcome the news that extra cash is being allocated by the council towards repairing potholes from money saved on winter gritting.
“Added to the additional funding allocated by central government, this should mean a vast improvement to roads in the district and hopefully the ward I represent.”
A new survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance states the average one-off cost per authority in the region to clear the backlog of highway maintenance is £96m. The average number of potholes filled in the last year per authority in the region is 13,565 with an estimated cost of £51 to fill one pothole.