Worcestershire makes bids for extra highways funding

Worcestershire County Council has submitted two bids that could result in almost £20 million of improvements to the county’s roads and street lighting.

Council leader Adrian Hardman believes the bids to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund are strong and an announcement on whether they have been successful is expected this month (March).

The council has committed a total of £7.8m in support of the bids with a view to securing an additional £12.1m from the £275m Challenge Fund pot. This would generate a combined total of £19.9m for the county’s projects.

The Challenge Fund was set up by the government to enable local highway authorities to bid for major maintenance projects that are otherwise difficult to fund through the normal allocations they receive.

Worcestershire County Council’s bids is split into cover two projects, one of which would improve 111 sections of county highways, covering a total length of 135km. The work would be carried out over a three-year period and could start as early as April this year (2015) if the bid is approved.

The three-year programme of highways improvements would effectively restore the condition of the county’s roads network to levels enjoyed prior to the damage caused by severe weather over recent winters.

The second part of Worcestershire’s bid is for a programme to replace the county’s remaining 21,000 orange street lights with white-light LED lanterns while 1,200 concrete lighting columns would be replaced by modern steel ones.

Commenting on the combined bid Cllr Hardman said: “We think it’s a strong bid and we are excited by this opportunity to potentially obtain further funding for the county to deliver local schemes with government help.

“This is designed to continue improving the infrastructure of the county which will benefit road users, businesses and ultimately everyone living in Worcestershire.”

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