£790k programme agreed to improve transport in Hartlepool

Roadworks on the junction of Raby Road, Middleton Road and Hart Lane.
Roadworks on the junction of Raby Road, Middleton Road and Hart Lane.

COUNCILLORS have agreed a £790,000 programme of work to improve roads, bus routes, footpaths and cycle lanes over the next 12-months.

Hartlepool Borough Council has agreed a package of work from its Local Transport Plan budget with £232,000 being spent on bus network improving schemes, £150,000 on cycle tracks and lanes and funding on safety schemes at schools.

There will also be improvements to bridges, street lighting, road crossings and more 20mph zones near schools - with the areas chosen by the council after a review of road casualty data.

Councillors sitting on the council’s neighbourhood services committee approved the various schemes and works to be carried out over the next 12-months at a recent meeting.

Mike Blair, the council’s highways, traffic and transport manager, said: “The third Local Transport Plan sets out how a safe and sustainable transport system can be delivered within Hartlepool.

“All works and schemes will be funded from the Local Transport Plan allocation from Central Government.”

A report to the meeting said while funding restrictions “represent a significant barrier” to delivering the council’s aspirations for improving the transport network in Hartlepool, it does “provide opportunities to work more closely with our partner organisations for the overall benefit of the town.”

The Local Transport Plans are regularly reviewed to respond to any changing circumstances, with the current plan running from 2011 to 2015.

The Government is then expected to announce the funding details for the following five-year period.

But as things stand council officers told the committee there is “no indication” about future funding at the moment.

There was, however, some good news about a funding boost for tackling problematic potholes in town.

Mr Blair told the committee the council had been successful in securing an extra £166,816 towards repairing potholes, as previously reported by the Mail.

The potential number of potholes that could fix is 3,000, but transport officers say they always prefer to re-surface roads or stretches of roads rather than patch potholes.

A report will go back to the committee in August for approval on how that money will be spent.

In March, the council was awarded £131,268 weather repair funding so the total amount of extra funding received this year from the central Government stands at £298,084.

Total funding towards road maintenance for 2014-15 stands at £766,000, but that is still a drop in the ocean compared to the £20m plus needed to fix the backlog of potholes.