The Department for Transport has (DfT) confirmed funding of nearly £350m for councils to improve local roads.
Under the Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund, £198m will be available for 2019/20 and 2020/21. Councils will be able to bid for projects that will ‘improve the quality of roads and surrounding infrastructure, including structures such as bridges and viaducts if necessary, to benefit the local economy and make driving safer’.
DfT officials said pointedly: ‘In particular, the funding could be put toward sorting major pothole repairs’.
Under the Pinch Point Fund, a total of £150m will be available in 2021/22 and 2022/23.
Officials said the cash will go towards council projects designed to help ease congestion on some of their busiest roads.
Both funding pots have been announced previously, with the current chancellor, Philip Hammond, having announced £150m for ‘small improvement projects such as roundabouts’ in last year's Budget under his flagship National Productivity Investment Fund.
Re-announcing the cash, current transport secretary Chris Grayling said: ‘Local roads are the backbone of the transport network for drivers up and down the country, but we know that some aren’t up to the standard they need to be.
‘Whether it’s congestion or quality, we need to empower local authorities to invest in these roads and make journeys safer and stress-free.
‘That’s exactly what this funding will do – over four years we’re providing more than a third of a billion pounds to make sure local authorities have the cash they need to make this a reality.’
Officials said previous examples of projects funded through Pinch Point include improving the links between the A12 and A143 to open up housing and commercial development land, new roads helping buses bypass single lane roads, and new roads to link main roads with new housing developments.