MILLIONS of pounds have been earmarked to repair roads ravaged by winter storms in Dorset.

But the county council has just weeks to spend the cash and has not yet informed road users where the work will be carried out.

It has received £5.8 million from the government’s emergency fund, which must be spent before the school summer holidays begin.

Head of Highways Andrew Martin said: “The Government want us to use this emergency fund by the summer holidays. This may mean that we only have a short-time to inform local residents that this is happening in their area – so please be patient, we will do our best to keep people up-to-date.”

He said the council is continually monitoring the county’s roads, checking for potholes and other defects, and the information is used to plan the maintenance schedule.

He added: “It has been a complicated process, prioritising roads and then planning the route of the teams to use the Government’s money in the best way possible.

“We are repairing long sections of A and B roads, together with shorter, trickier C and D roads. The lower class roads are strategically important for Dorset, but they often give us difficult logistic problems with the size of the machinery that we use.”

He said signs will be put up to inform road users when work will be carried out and that temporary speed restrictions may be introduced in some areas.

Cllr Peter Finney, Cabinet member for environment and economy, said: “It’s important for us to maintain Dorset roads for the benefit of the economy. The tight deadline the Government has given us means that we have to work quickly to take advantage of this fund.

“As always I would caution drivers to adapt their driving to the conditions of the road and take care on roads that have deteriorated.”

Cllr Finney said the council will continue to press for more money to address the condition of the county’s roads.

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