Maintenance and repairs of Bristol’s carriageways, streets, footways and bridges are set to receive a much needed funding boost of £9.6 million.
During Tuesday’s (13 July) meeting, Bristol’s Mayor and Cabinet discussed a report that highlights £7.5 million for highway maintenance and £2.2 million from the government’s Pothole Action Fund.
Maintenance of the city’s roads and highways structures has suffered from decades of under investment from central government leaving the council with a huge challenge to keep the city moving, safely and efficiently.
There is currently an estimated backlog that requires investment of £100 million in highway structures, underfunding of £5 million annually for carriageways and footways and a further estimated £60 million needed for docks structures. The council have over 700 streets on a rolling programme that require repairs and some major refurbishment is needed for highways structures including St Philips Causeway and St Anne’s Bridge.
Preparing for future population growth and increased demand on infrastructure places additional pressure on this already critical situation.
Ongoing inspections and surveys have identified the carriageways, streets, footways and bridges that are a priority and in need of urgent repair. Potholes and other issues reported by the public have also been taken into account during this prioritisation of works.
The specific works identified as priorities for the £7.5 million funding include improvements to the footways on Park Street, refurbishment of St Peters Rise, continued repairs to Redcliffe Bridge, repairs to West end and Temple Gate car parks, and safety repairs to some New Cut bridges along with progress monitoring and designs enabling further consideration of the challenge to maintain and ensure the continued enjoyment and use of the bridges into the future.
Money allocated from the Pothole Action Fund will enable preventative work, such as surface dressing, road surface safety inspections, and drainage repairs to address any defects before they cause potholes.
Councillor Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport said “Improving the condition of our roads and footways will ensure we are a well-connected city linking people with education, jobs and services through well maintained and high quality transport connections. By keeping our highways network well maintained and safe we hope to encourage residents to walk and cycle more which will improve wellbeing, reduce congestion, improve our air quality and deliver carbon reduction targets.
“Earmarking this funding now will enable us to put in place a well-planned programme of early interventions that will increase the resilience of our transport network, reduce disruption and potential elevated costs in the future.
“The money we have allocated will help us address critical needs but significant investment is still needed to address the full challenge associated with the ongoing upkeep of our highways. We will continue to raise our concerns with government and work with elected members to bang the drum for Bristol’s roads and highways.”