Sheffield roads are worst in the country

potholes in Sheffield city centre
potholes in Sheffield city centre

SHEFFIELD’S crumbling roads - about to be repaired with £2 billion of investment - are the worst of any English city, official figures confirmed today.

Eight per cent of the city’s highways network has been damned as ‘poor’ by the Department for Transport.

That’s twice as bad as both Barnsley and Doncaster, and worse, too, than the streets of Rotherham where the figure was five per cent.

Sheffield Council admitted the figures come as ‘no surprise’ - but said dramatic change was on the way from August, with £2bn of Private Finance Initiative money spent over five years to rebuild potholed roads and broken footpaths.

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member for transport, said: “The statistics are no surprise but we are putting a huge sum of money into the highways network.”

Taking towns and villages as well as cities into account, Sheffield was ranked the joint-fifth worst place in the country for its decrepit road conditions.

Len Hadfield, a former secretary of Sheffield Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “We have known for years Sheffield has seen underspending on its roads compared to neighbouring areas. Ringinglow Road is a patchwork of repairs and filled-in potholes as far as the Derbyshire border - then it is smooth.”

The Government’s statistics, for the 2010/11 year, rate roads according to the traffic light colours of red, amber and green.

In Sheffield, the proportion of roads in the green category was 63 per cent, compared with 72 per cent in Rotherham and Derbyshire, and 73 per cent in Barnsley and Doncaster.

Roads in the ‘amber’ category, where the surface was classed as deteriorating, numbered 29 per cent in Sheffield, 23 per cent in Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, and 22 per cent in Derbyshire.

Sheffield’s eight per cent of ‘red’ roads compared to a national average of five per cent and a figure in Derbyshire of six per cent. Nationwide, 70 per cent of roads were green and 25 per cent amber.

Only the Isle of Wight, Cumbria, Norfolk, Bath and North East Somerset were found to have worse roads than Sheffield.

Coun Leigh Bramall said half the cost of the £2bn highways PFI scheme is being met by the council, and added it was Labour that made the bid for the funding back in 2008.

“Compared with other major cities Sheffield has had particular problems caused by the decline of the steel industries, and the council had more pressure as a result on spending such as social services budgets,” he said.

“Money has been made available in recent years for road safety work in some parts of the city, but that has been where accident rates are high.

“What is pleasing is that, despite the harsh winter in 2010/11, the roads did not decline further. We carried out 20,000 individual repairs due to damage by the freezing weather.”