NORTH Devon's roads should get at least a partial upgrade in the new year after the government announced Devon County Council would receive £9.252m in capital funding to spend on the road network in the county.
The news came as the Department for Transport announced it would be providing a nationwide investment of £215m to renew, repair and extend the life of roads across the country. Devon's £9.252 million share will come over the next two years, with DCC receiving just over £6 million this coming financial year and around £3.2m in 2014/15.
Severe weather in July left Devon with a clean-up and repair bill in excess of £5m, and a further £3m worth of damage was caused in November.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "This is very good news and is exactly the sort of support we have been calling for following the severe flooding in Devon this year.
"Our county took a battering last month and in the Summer. That has devastated many communities and has impacted on our local infrastructure. "With over 8,000 miles of roads we have a larger network to maintain than any other authority in the country. Our roads are vital to our local economy and the flooding has hit Devon particularly hard.
"I'm pleased that the Government has recognised that with this grant; it's an early Christmas present, if you like, and it will help us in our sustained efforts to repair our roads. This grant is also beneficial for our local economy as it will fund additional work for "shovel ready" repair schemes.
"We will have a thorough look at our highway infrastructure across the county to ensure this funding will be targeted at connecting smaller communities to the main road network which will help with accessibility."
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the funding could be used for improvements such as road resurfacing, bridge maintenance or repairing damage to highway infrastructure caused by severe weather events, such as the recent flooding.
In 2011, Devon received a £9.3m winter damage grant, following successive harsh winters. This grant funded around 800 road repair schemes across the county. As per the winter damage grant, details of how the money is being spent will be published on Devon County Council's website at the end of each financial year to enable residents see where the money has been spent.
And North Devon MP Nick Harvey was delighted with the news.
He said: “This extra financial support is extremely welcome as North Devon’s roads were hit particularly hard this year by flooding, as well as successive harsh winters.
“With more than 8,000 miles of roads to maintain, Devon needs consistent financial support in this area. Last year’s one-off winter damage grant payment from the Department for Transport was put to extremely good use and today’s funding announcement will ensure this vital work can continue.”