ALMOST £8.5 million has been allocated to repair roads and prevent potholes forming in County Durham.

Durham County Council has been awarded the money from the Department for Transport’s Pothole and Challenge Bid funds.

The funding is in addition to the £30 million already committed by the council for 2020-21 to help repair local highways in the county and will be spent on highway maintenance to improve the overall condition of the network.

It will help to strengthen the council’s rolling programme of resurfacing and sealing road surfaces.

Some of the funding will also be used to maintain other assets such as bridges and drainage systems.

Resurfacing works resumed across the county on 24 April following a break in services caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Council officers are now working on a programme that will address the backlog of works that are needed, at the best value.

Cllr Brian Stephens, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We are committed to making sure roads across the county are safe and free of potholes. The best course of action is to ensure that work is carried out before potholes occur which is why a lot of the extra funding will go towards preventative maintenance treatments such as resurfacing.

“Our programme of improvements has suffered some setbacks because of the restrictions that were in place because of the coronavirus. We are endeavouring to address this whilst ensuring that we follow public health guidelines around social distancing and safe operating practices so we would ask the public for their patience while this carried out.”