AN EXTRA £10m will be plugged into Oxfordshire’s road network to tackle crumbling highways this year

A further £120m could also be borrowed to boost infrastructure over the next decade.

The county council said the investment would be the biggest pot for highways and infrastructure it has ever committed to once it goes ahead.

Oxfordshire’s 2,800-mile road network was battered over the winter by freezing conditions and ferocious storms, including the Beast for the East in February and March, piling on extra work for engineers.

Since January, the council has filled in more than 23,000 potholes – although many residents remain disappointed by the condition of their roads.

The county council's leader, Ian Hudspeth, met engineers working to resurface Woodstock Road yesterday.

He said examples like the extensive £650,000 project – which should mean that the road does not need to undergo significant work for up to 15 years – showed the investment is better than waiting for roads to decline and undergoing more work.

Mr Hudspeth said: “This is not just about Oxford city. This is about all the roads in Oxfordshire and where we can get the best value.”

He added: “We know road users are very concerned about the state of the roads in Oxfordshire and we have been looking at ways to tackle the problem, which everyone knows is getting worse.”

Mr Hudspeth said rural roads in parts of Oxfordshire were formerly ‘cart tracks’ which were hastily tarmacked decades ago and would be among those improved with the extra cash.

The other £120m would be funded through additional council tax income that is expected to arrive with new residents moving to Oxfordshire over the next decade.

"It's the growth agenda that will bring in additional money, which is what people have been asking for," Mr Hudspeth said.

The number of extra residents has been revised downwards said the Office for National Statistics initially predicted Oxfordshire would have a population of 838,000 by 2031. That has now been revised to 713,000.

The borrowing of the £120m could be ‘stopped’ if the increased [council tax] revenue does not materialise, a cabinet document notes.

County council cabinet members will be asked to approve the plan for that money ‘in principle’ next week, ahead of a full business case being prepared by the autumn.

Any investment will be in addition to a £150m infrastructure fund which will be spent by councils across Oxfordshire as part of the £215m Oxfordshire Growth Deal. That was signed in March.

Roads campaigner Mark Morrell, who is also known as Mr Pothole, welcomed the news.

He said he had been impressed by the council’s cabinet member for environment, Yvonne Constance, when they met in May and was confident she would drive improvement.

He said: “It’s a shame it hasn’t been [given] by Government and it’s a shame a council will have to borrow the money.

“But I was quite impressed by Yvonne Constance because she definitely had the bit between her teeth and was looking to do something. She was very proactive about doing something.

“She was saying: ‘we must do something about [the state of the roads].’ If it’s the start of her driving things forward, then that is a positive.”

He added another plan mooted by the county council revealed in the Oxford Mail last week that would see communities fixing their own roads ‘does have its own merits’ – and would save money.

Mr Morrell said a similar plan had been rolled out in Devon and had been a success. He said it had saved councils labour costs while ensuring potholes were no longer dangerous for road users.

About nine per cent of the council’s roads are currently classified as being of ‘red’ condition – or requiring work soon. But last Thursday, its director of infrastructure delivery, Owen Jenkins, said that figure would double if nothing was done to increase funding.

The council said an extra £10m could pay for another 46 miles of extensive surfacing on roads or another 52,000 sq. m of patching.

It said it is spending £16m on similar works across the county already. About 15 per cent of the council’s network is made up of A roads, 10 per cent of B roads and C or unclassified roads make up about three quarters of it.