The estimated repair bill to fix Surrey’s rain-swept and flooded roads and bridges has hit the £6 million mark.
Surrey County Council has announced the estimated cost as engineers draw up a hit-list of the worst-affected spots – with more rain forecast.
Torrential rain, strong winds and burst riverbanks over Christmas and the New Year prompted county council roads teams to work around the clock to clear hundreds of flooded roads and fallen trees.
The county council’s fire and rescue service responded to thousands of calls.
Council roads inspectors assessing damage to roads, bridges, drainage, embankments and footpaths across the county gave early estimates that the clear-up would cost around £5 million. But the county council said this has now gone up to £6 million, with around £800,000 alone expected to be needed to rebuild Flanchford Road bridge near Reigate. When final estimates are in, the roads repair bill could rise above £10 million.
More flooding is possible, with the Environment Agency asking the county council to remove repair scaffolding from the bridge over the Wey at the bottom of Guildford High Street in anticipation of further predicted rainfall.
Surrey-wide road repairs range from filling cracks and clearing debris to removing fallen trees, fixing bridges and repairing road surfaces.
The council said the current repair bill could rise once the last flooded roads are reopened and inspectors can check the damage.
The most expensive repair bills so far include £800,000 at Flanchford Road bridge, near Reigate, £800 000 at Pigeon House Lane footbridge over the River Wey, near Wisley, £700,000 at the flooded embankment in Chobham Road, Leatherhead, and £660,000 in repairs to new potholes created by flooding.
John Furey, Surrey County Council's cabinet member for highways, said: “We’re still assessing the full cost of all the damage across Surrey, and the £6 million figure is likely to rise significantly.”
Coun Furey said: “This is another example of budget pressures beyond our control that we have to deal with, and we’ll do whatever it takes to put things right for the residents of Surrey.”
The county council said it has so far taken more than 3,500 highways calls, with fire crews receiving another 2,000, has responded to around 315 instances of flooding affecting roads, carried out more than 70 safety inspections to bridges and embankments, cleared 850 fallen trees, dealt with nearly 350 other incidents, and has supported vulnerable people through regular contact and home visits.
Last year Surrey County Council spent an extra £5 million from savings to fix roads damaged by ice and snow.
That was on top of ongoing maintenance and the five-year programme to overhaul 300 miles of the county's roads needing repairs the most.
Residents and drivers are being urged to keep updated on flood alerts and weather warnings, to use caution when out and about in flooded areas and to check on any vulnerable neighbours they think may need help.