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Counties across England have pledged more money to tackle deteriorating road conditions and improve road safety over the coming years. This follows the news that poor weather conditions over the winter period have resulted in worsening road surfaces.

Hertfordshire County Council received over 1,500 more reports of potholes this winter than they did during the same period last year. They attributed this increase to fluctuating road temperatures creating a freeze and thaw effect. When temperatures drop, water in the road surface freezes, causing it to expanding by up to 10% before melting back to water when the temperature rises again. This expands gaps in the road surface to cracks, which are then refilled by more rain water, which again freezes and expands when the temperature drops. This process causes the surface to weaken and crack, before creating potholes.

This adds pressure to the country’s already worsening pothole problem, with figures from the latest ALARM survey finding that it will take 13 years and cost £12 billion to repair the country’s potholes and bring local road networks back up to a satisfactory standard. However, Hertfordshire County Council say they are hitting their targets for repairing potholes, and that an extra £29 million will be invested into improving the conditions of their unclassified road network over the next four years.

Other counties are also pledging extra cash to improve road conditions over the coming years. Staffordshire County Council have allocated an additional £5 million to tackle pothole hotspots, which will involve repairing existing potholes as well as working on measures to prevent the development of future potholes.

Devon County Council are also pledging a one-off sum of £6.5 million towards highway maintenance, which will be funded by a fifth of a 5% increase in council tax. This money will be spent on pothole repair as well as other road maintenance work.

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