The estimated repair bill to fix Surrey’s roads and bridges has hit the £6 million mark as engineers draw up a hitlist of the worst-affected spots – with more rain forecast.
Torrential rain, strong winds and burst riverbanks over Christmas and the New Year prompted county council roads teams to work around the clock to clear hundreds of flooded roads and fallen trees, and the county council’s fire and rescue service responded to thousands of calls.
Council roads inspectors assessing damage to roads, bridges, drainage, embankments and footpaths across the county gave early estimates that the clear-up would cost around £5 million. This has now gone up to £6 million, with around £800,000 alone expected to be needed to rebuild Flanchford Road bridge near Reigate. When final estimates are in, the roads repair bill could rise above £10 million.
More flooding is possible, with the Environment Agency asking the county council today to remove repair scaffolding from the bridge over the Wey at the bottom of Guildford High Street in anticipation of further predicted rainfall.
Surrey-wide road repairs range from filling cracks and clearing debris to removing fallen trees, fixing bridges and repairing road surfaces, and the current repair bill could rise once the last flooded roads are reopened and inspectors can check the damage.
The most expensive repair bills so far include:
· £800,000 – Flanchford Road bridge, near Reigate (see external video below from SparkoRC)
· £800 000 – Pigeon House Lane footbridge over the River Wey, near Wisley
· £700,000 – flooded embankment in Chobham Road, Leatherhead
· £660,000 – repairs to new potholes created by flooding
John Furey, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We’re still assessing the full cost of all the damage across Surrey, and the £6 million figure is likely to rise significantly.
“This is another example of budget pressures beyond our control that we have to deal with, and we’ll do whatever it takes to put things right for the residents of Surrey.”
The county council has so far:
· Taken more than 3,500 highways calls, with fire crews receiving another 2,000
· Responded to around 315 instances of flooding affecting roads
· Carried out over 70 safety inspections to bridges and embankments
· Cleared 850 fallen trees
· Dealt with nearly 350 other incidents
· Supported vulnerable people through regular contact and home visits.
Last year Surrey County Council spent an extra £5 million from savings to fix roads damaged by ice and snow, which was on top of ongoing maintenance and the five-year programme to overhaul 300 miles of the roads needing repairs the most.
Residents and drivers are being urged to keep updated on flood alerts and weather warnings, to use caution when out and about in flooded areas and to check on any vulnerable neighbours they think may need help.