DAMAGE to the region’s roads caused by snow and ice will cost millions to fix, road bosses say.

Senior councillors at North Yorkshire County Council will be asked next week to allocate £1m to fund emergency pothole repairs.

The full cost of repairing the county’s damaged roads is not yet known, but will be several million pounds, officials say.

Other councils in the region are also undertaking emergency work.

North Yorkshire county councillor John Fort, executive member for highways, said: “Every winter throws up highways damage which needs repair, but this year has been the worst many people can remember for about 30 years.

“At this stage, we do not know what the precise cost of the repairs will be, but North Yorkshire has the largest network of roads in England and many of them have been seriously damaged in this very severe weather.

“The provision of £1m from reserves will mean that the work on repairing the damage can begin immediately.”

Coun Fort urged motorists to drive with care.

Experts say potholes form when water seeps into the road surface through existing cracks, freezes and then expands, before thawing.

Catterick Village resident Tony Pelton noticed a large pothole had developed on the historic Catterick Bridge, over the River Swale.

He said: “The road in High Green, in Catterick Village, is also breaking up. It needs to be investigated.”

Councillor Bob Cook, Stockton Borough Council’s cabinet member for transport and regeneration, said staff would be monitoring the highways in the borough to assess the road conditions.

“Any subsequent repairs will be carried out as soon as possible,” he added.

Durham County Council has transferred teams previously responsible for clearing snow to inspect roads for potholes.

Steve Keetley, the council’s head of technical services, said: “Urgent spot repairs are carried out year round, but the recent freezing spell has meant we are bringing forward our annual programme.”

Staff from Darlington Borough Council are undertaking daily checks and completing immediate on-the-spot repairs where necessary.

The council said it was considering asking the Department of Transport for financial help to ensure the repairs were carried out quickly.

■ Meanwhile, fears of flooding due to the heavy rain and thawing snow has prompted Ryedale District Council, in North Yorkshire, to issue sandbags in the Beck Isle area of Pickering and in Lastingham and Slingsby.