WORKS have begun to repair some of the most damaged roads following one of the wettest winters for a century.

Hampshire County Council has started tackling a number of highways badly affected by flood damage across 300 locations.

It is not yet known how many of the 5,280 roads are to be worked on as many are still submerged.

The repair bill is estimated to currently stand at around £36m and this figure is expected to rise once water levels reduce showing the amount of damage that has been caused to bridges.

Councillor Seán Woodward, executive member for economy, transport and environment said: “The extent of the damage is significant, with an initial estimate of costs up to £36m needed for repairs, and this cost does not include flood alleviation schemes, such as those proposed for Hambledon.

“We are reprioritising all repairs to the worst affected roads so that we tackle the most serious defects first. These extra gangs, extra equipment and additional signing will be put in place and work will begin immediately on priority areas.” “As well as the 300 locations where the more extensive structural repair work is needed, we also expect that there will be a number of sites where some form of drainage improvements will be needed to avoid future flooding of the road,” he added. “Additionally, we have yet to assess the damage to bridge structures, which we plan to do using underwater divers once river levels have gone down.”

“We are waiting to hear from Government the details of Hampshire’s allocation of extra funding announced earlier this week to repair the roads damaged by the winter weather. However with our repair bill running at up to £36m, and the Government’s extra funding of around £80m nationally, we are likely to be facing a huge shortfall in funding to get our roads back even to the condition they were in before the flooding. In the meantime, are pressing ahead with safety repairs assessments, works planning and deploying extra gangs and resources to ensure we can keep Hampshire moving.”