Like any other town in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Barnsley will have seen its fair share of winter damage to roads and footpaths caused by the cold and wet weather. In response, Barnsley Council has announced its fund to carry out repair work.
According to a cabinet report that is set to be approved next week, the local authority is to spend £18.6 million over the 2021-22 financial year on repairs, of which £2 million has been specifically set aside for potholes, the Barnsley Chronicle reports.
Tarmac surfacing contractors across Yorkshire will be looking to get contracts for the work, which will see a range of projects taking place to fix damaged roads in the district. Indeed, work has already started on some schemes, with £2 million being spent so far this year up to the end of March.
Resurfacing has taken place on the A634 Doncaster road between Darfield and Goldthorpe, while other work has included the development of a new dual use path for cyclists and pedestrians linking Ardsley and Darfield, improvements to traffic signals and improvements to roadside drainage.
The next major resurfacing project will be the roads in Penistone and Haigh, which will be given priority due to their comparatively poor state of repair. The road at Haigh passes under the M1, making it the responsibility of the council, although the work would have to be co-ordinated with Highways England as the operator of the motorway.
Penistone’s priority is the currently unadopted road to the town’s household waste recycling centre. The report noted that “its unprecedented usage of during the Covid-19 situation has seen significant deterioration of the carriageway due to unprecedented volumes of traffic”, making the construction of a proper road surface a priority.
However, the council has said it is having t carry out a “balancing act” as it allocates funds, since future revenue streams are subject to uncertainty after the establishment of the South Yorkshire devolution deal, which means the metro mayor Dan Jarvis has the power to decide where funds such as highway maintenance grants from central government are spent.
This means that £3.2 million of this year’s funding has been carried over to 2022-23 to balance the risks that there may be less cash available then than the council hopes to have.
“The level of funding for the council’s highways programme for 2022-23 and beyond remains particularly uncertain within both regional and national contexts, “said the councils’ highways boss Ian Wilson in his report to the cabinet.
Since no announcement has yet been made regarding funding, Mr Wilson said it is “unlikely” 2021-22 funding will be affected. Beyond that, however, apart from the general “uncertainty” over the distribution method of funds from the Department for Transport, “there remains a risk to the council as there is the possibility of a significant reduction of external funding coming”, he added.
Barnsley’s roads will have suffered wear and tear from a different array of factors over the winter. While the town itself will have many busy roads with a lot of traffic, the wider borough includes many rural areas and villages in the Pennines, some within the Peak District National Park. Rising to over 500 metres above sea level, these roads are most prone to severe winter weather.