Rossendale Scrib­bler

Rossendale Free Press - - St Annes-on-sea -

THE snow over our never-end­ing win­ter has left our roads in a real mess – and let’s be hon­est, they were hardly in great shape to start with.

Driv­ing across Rossendale can feel like an off-road ad­ven­ture, even when trav­el­ling on some of our main roads.

Lancashire county coun­cil has an­nounced it is to spend £30m on im­prov­ing the in­fra­struc­ture as­so­ci­ated with Lancashire’s roads.

As ever, it’s hard to tell how much of the money is new money, but £30m is al­ways go­ing to be wel­come.

It com­pares with a sim­i­lar amount com­mit­ted to im­prov­ing roads com­mit­ted by the coun­cil in 2016, for ex­am­ple.

Of the £30m, £23m will be spent on resur­fac­ing roads.

The county coun­cil says of that £23m, £10m will be used on fix­ing pot­holes. Will it be enough? Well since the an­nounce­ment was made by LCC, we’ve had a fur­ther dose of snow, and in turn, the gov­ern­ment has an­nounced emer­gency money to help coun­cils sort out the roads.

Lancashire will get around £2.3m.

Again, my sus­pi­cion is that the money won’t be any­thing like enough to ac­tu­ally get our roads to an ac­cept­able state for road users who are, in the main, tax pay­ers.

In an area like Rossendale, the state of the roads will have a direct im­pact on the like­li­hood of busi­nesses choos­ing to in­vest in the area.

As has been very well doc­u­mented, this area doesn’t have a train, so travel is en­tirely by road.

Be­yond the M66 and A56, fast road links to other ar­eas sim­ply don’t ex­ist.

So it’s es­sen­tial the roads we do have, work.

The prob­lem over­all is that coun­cils get around £21,000 per mile they main­tain, whereas £1.1m is spent per mile of strate­gic road main­tained – mo­tor­ways in the main.

Like so many things in lo­cal gov­ern­ment, it all comes down to money in the end.

And coun­cils, even ones like LCC find­ing ex­tra cash to put into roads, don’t have the cash to catch up on roads which have been crum­bling for years.

In parts of Rossendale, the prob­lem is made worse by the reg­u­lar clo­sures of the A56 and M66 at night for what feels like the ever-present yet ever-changing overnight road­works tak­ing place.

That means that roads such as Mar­ket Street in Eden­field will reg­u­larly take a pound­ing from lor­ries and other heavy ve­hi­cles all night.

Over time, surely that dam­ages the roads.

In­deed, the cen­tre of Eden­field’s roads did, the last time I was there, feel like a trek across Scout Moor.

In 2013, Rossendale MP Jake Berry launched a pot­hole watch cam­paign which was de­signed to get more fo­cus on the roads in our area at County Hall.

It’s as needed now as it ever was.

In other parts of the coun­try, peo­ple now plant flow­ers in pot­holes to make their point, while in one town in Es­sex, the lo­cal com­mu­nity held a birth­day party for a par­tic­u­larly men­ac­ing pot­hole.

And that’s part of the prob­lem – pot­holes are be­com­ing more men­ac­ing.

On one hand, it can be fas­ci­nat­ing to look into a pot­hole and see the cob­bles of the old street un­der­neath.

On the other hand, it’s sad that decades on from those cob­bles be­ing laid, we seem to have more un­re­li­able road sur­fac­ing than we did back then– and an up­hill bat­tle to keep those cob­bles cov­ered up.

●● A pot­hole on Pen­nine Road in Bacup

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