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DENBIGHSHIRE: Increased investment is solving the pothole problem, claims councillor

INVESTMENT in repairing potholes on rural roads in Denbighshire is starting to pay off, says the council’s lead member for highways.

Cabinet member Cllr Barry Mellor says country lanes in the south of the county have historically been problematic, especially after harsh winters.

The problem, Cllr Mellor says, is caused when water freezes on roads, leading to cracking tarmac and potholes, particularly when culverts at the side of the road become blocked.

But Denbighshire has increased pothole repairs and work to keep culverts clear, which Cllr Mellor says is starting to pay off.

Cllr Mellor said: “The roads are problematic for every council. But we increased our funding for the roads three years ago.

“I think the capital budget increased by about 60% from around £2.5m to £4m.

“The cold is one aspect of it, but the other is the culverts at the side of the road often get blocked, especially with (residue from) farmers’ tractors and what have you.

“So when we are doing the roads, we are making sure the culverts are done as well.

“Where the culverts are blocked, the water will run down the middle of the road, raking the tarmac up again. The water damages the road when it freezes. So we have to keep the culverts clear as well as the road. A lot of the roads in Denbighshire are rural.”

Cllr Mellor claimed the success was all down to the council’s investment in country roads but said it would be a few years before the full extent of results would be seen.

“We have to apply for funding every year from Denbighshire’s own pocket,” he said.

“The budget was set at £2.5m, but it just wasn’t enough, and it has started to make a difference now.

“I live in Rhyl in the north of the county, but when I first took the job as the lead member, I went out with the chief officer for highways and went for a drive around the south of the county. Some of the roads really needed work.

“This £4m is starting to take effect. The chief highways officer was quite honest.

“He told me it was probably going to take five years to see a big difference. The problem in the south of the county on these country roads is we go out and re-tarmac, and within two or three years, they are knackered again.”

He added: “The extra £1.5m has made a massive difference to the roads. One councillor came to me and asked if I would meet him up in Llandegla, I think it was.

“The roads were shocking. The work was on the forward work plan, but I managed to get it brought forward.”