AN extra £5.4 million of Government funding has been given to Somerset to tackle a backlog of road maintenance.

Somerset Council will use the money to carry out essential repair works on the county’s 20 worst roads.

The award of extra funding from the Government recognised ‘unprecedented challenges’ which the council was facing after a year of extreme weather conditions. 

A blistering summer followed by a winter of sustained flooding and freezing temperatures led to a huge increase in defects on roads, with standing water penetrating surfaces and then freezing.

Somerset was not the worst hit county in the UK but was left with a major programme of works to tackle.

In January alone, there were reports of 4,347 potholes, blocked gullies, and other damage on the county’s roads, nearly 50 per cent more than in 2022.

A total of 27,671 safety defects were reported in the 2022/23, which was 3,500 more than the previous year.

And this week there was the additional challenge of flash flooding which affected communities across the county.

Somerset transport portfolio holder Cllr Mike Rigby said: “This extra funding will ensure the council can not only tackle the growing maintenance backlog in highways maintenance following the challenges we have faced over the last nine months, but it is going to make it possible for us to take preventative actions and protect roads.

“We know people out there are noticing the state of the roads, we can see the number of reports we are getting from the public have grown, so I would ask people to please keep using our report function, bear with us, we are operating on a priority basis.

“Over the next three months there will be comprehensive assessments made to catalogue the damage and schedule repairs, and a huge operation to get the work done so we can build that resilience in our network, ensure our residents and business have reliable connectivity, with safe, well-maintained roads, and that we are well prepared ahead of next winter.”

Cllr Rigby said as well as targeting the worst roads, the extra funding would be used for a ‘carriageway resilience recovery programme’ seeking to address areas of defective carriageway such as depressions, crazing, and crocodile cracking. 

It would also be used for alternative surface treatments such as crack sealing, micro resurfacing, and retexturing.

Cllr Rigby said cracking had been a feature of the hot weather last summer, contributing to the deteriorating condition of roads during the winter.

Additional velocity spray-applied patching would also be carried out to expand the programme of repairing C class three-monthly inspection routes.

Cllr Rigby said anybody who spotted a problem on a road could report it quickly and easily using the council’s online ‘report it’ function at