SOUTH Gloucestershire Council has rejected claims it would take 742 years to repair all of its crumbling roads and potholes.
The figure was put to council leader Toby Savage at a cabinet meeting in March by Yate town councillor Chris Willmore, who said it was based on raw government data used to compile a league table of backlogs.
She told Mr Savage: “You have more A-road length than Bristol but only managed to repair a third as much. At the current rate of repairs, Bristol could repair all its A roads in 56 years – you would take 170 years.
“If we go to the other roads, South Glos repairs half as much each year even though it has more roads. Bristol at its current rate would take 391 years to repair all those roads – South Glos would take 742 years.”
Mr Savage admitted they had more work to do said but the administration had committed an extra £1 million in the budget, set in February, to improve the state of highways and pavements.
The numbers were based on Department for Transport figures which said the council reconstructed or re-laid 0.7 miles of its 119.2 miles of A-roads and 1.9 miles of its 1,409.8 minor roads in 2021-22.
However afterwards the council said the estimates were based on the “inaccurate” assumption that all of the network needed to be repaired, whereas only 3% of A-roads and 7% of other roads needed urgent maintenance, with the network as a whole in “a very reasonable condition”.
Potholes have worsened on many roads in the district in recent months.
A council spokesperson said maintenance crews, who are out five days a week and sometimes on weekends, had “filled around 17% more potholes since the start of January compared to last year”.
It has four to eight crews repairing roads each day.
The spokesperson said: “This time of year is traditionally busy in terms of repairing potholes, as the cold and wet weather over the winter months takes its toll on our road surfaces.
“We repair around 11,000 potholes a year, although it is difficult to provide an exact number, as repairs may include multiple potholes under one job.”
The council launched a new online system for residents to report potholes and other issues on roads, footpaths and cycleways last summer, including the ability to upload pictures of damage, which can be send straight to maintenance teams along with the location.
To report a pothole or road defect visit www.southglos.gov.uk/reportit.
Meeting report by Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service