The annual budget for road, bridge and streetlight repairs in Powys has been reduced by £2.6 million this year in a bid to stifle the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the million money will be reallocated over the next two years as part of Powys Council's Highways Asset Management Plan – and the shortfall will be made up in part by £1.5 million in grant funding from the Welsh Government.

Head of finance Jane Thomas has asked all services to look again at their building projects and make savings where they can because of the impact of Covid-19 on council coffers.

The money forms forms part of an overall 10-year programme worth over £50 million to deal with infrastructure maintenance, which was approved in February.

That is still short of the £10 million a year which is reportedly needed to improve the road network, which is ranked as the worst in Wales.

The Welsh Government boost means that £3.9 million will go towards road maintenance in Powys this year. The rest of the

Portfolio holder for environment, Cllr Heulwen Hulme, said: “Going back to last February, we set out our capital strategy for highways for the next 10 years.

“Whilst the £5m HAMP, approved by cabinet and set out in the capital strategy, will slow the rate of the deterioration.

“It will nonetheless continue to deteriorate, and the service’s road condition performance indicator will continue to widen from the Welsh average.

“Powys is currently ranked 22nd (of 22 Welsh local authorities) for its road conditions.

“We have a number of bridge structures that are in need of work.”

One of the bridges is at Glasbury and carries the A438 across the river Wye .

It will need to be replaced in the next five to eight years at the cost estimate of over £6 million.

Cllr Hulme also pointed out  that emergency work to repair damage to multiple structures caused by flash flooding last month on the B4355 between Dutlas and Lloyney had started.

The changes leaves the HAMP  programme with £2.4 million in the pot for this year but an extra £1.5 million in grant funding from the Welsh Government takes it up to £3.9 million.

The £2.6 million will be pushed through, with £1.3 million  to be used by the service in 2021/22 and the other £1.3 million in 2022/23.

Director of Environment and Economy, Nigel Brinn, added: “The service has requested that the balance of the underspend funds takes into account delayed works and  gets rolled forward.

“It’s right that we look at in relation to the overall capital programme.”

Cabinet noted the contents of the report.