Over £90 million of highways funding has been awarded by the Government to local authorities across the country, with £3.5 million heading to Bath & North East Somerset to help repair Cleveland Bridge.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere has announced today, 28th February, that thirty-two local authorities will receive investment for essential repair works, levelling up infrastructure, cutting congestion, improving road conditions and making journeys easier.
The awards include £3.5m for repairs to the 194-year-old Cleveland Bridge in Bath, nearly £4m for a suite of major upgrades to boost journeys in Swindon and £2.8m for key works in Bristol.
Baroness Vere recently visited Bath and met council leader Councillor Dine Romero and joint cabinet member for Transport, Councillor Joanna Wright.
The funding announcement comes as the Government boosts UK innovators through a £900,000 investment to fund cutting-edge research projects aimed at creating a better transport system – the first of which include world-leading innovations to spot and repair potholes.
Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “There is nothing more frustrating than a journey delayed by poor road conditions, and this multi-million-pound boost will help improve connectivity across the country.
“This investment will not only help local areas to target current pinch points on their roads, but will also harness our world-leading research and innovation capabilities to future proof the next generation of journeys.”
Councillor Joanna Wright, joint cabinet member for Transport Services, said: “I am delighted to hear that our bid for Government funding has been successful.
“We will now be able to move forward with our urgent plans to repair Cleveland Bridge by appointing a contractor and finalising details of the work, which we hope will begin in early April.
“The bridge is a strategic part of the highways network to keep traffic flowing for motorists and this funding will enable us to secure the bridge’s future.
“We would like to thank our colleagues at the West of England Combined Authority for their support in this bid.”
Bath & North East Somerset Council submitted its funding bid to the Government’s Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund.
One of the projects to receive funding will see the development of a new AI-powered app to detect potholes in real-time, using mobile phone sensors to measure when cyclists ride over or swerve to avoid them.
It is hoped the app will help local authorities to quickly identify when potholes are forming and take speedier action to fill them.
Commenting on the funding news for Cleveland Bridge, West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “For the second time this week, we’re seeing the Government investing in upgrading the West of England’s transport network thanks to the Combined Authority.
“Whether it’s repairing historic bridges to make sure our roads are fit for purpose or making our rail network more accessible, we’re keeping the West of England moving and keep our economy thriving.”
An 18-tonne weight restriction was put in place on Cleveland Bridge earlier this month ahead of essential structural repairs to the Grade II listed structure.
Surveys show some structural parts of the bridge have come to the end of their life, and the weight restriction was introduced as a precautionary measure.
A further £100 million is being made available for local highways authorities to bid for in 2020/21.