AT LEAST £220 million will be needed to bring North Yorkshire's pothole-ridden roads up to a decent standard.

Highways bosses at North Yorkshire County Council said the severe winters of 2009 and 2010 and recent flooding and freezing have left the roads in an appalling condition.

The council recently announced additional funding of £857,000 for work to prevent flood damage to roads, such as clearing drains, in an attempt to slow the deterioration, but a spokesman said budget restraints meant work would overwhelmingly focus on essential repairs.

The council has also confirmed though that potholes along the Tour de France route through the Yorkshire Dales will be filled in as part of a £400,000 repairs project ahead of the race.

North Yorkshire County Council highways chief, Councillor Gareth Dadd, said the 5,500 miles of roads he is responsible for would remain in a terrible state, despite £9m extra being spent on the network in the next two years.

He said: “I can't stress enough how badly damaged the network has been. But it is a balance and always will be between looking after our vulnerable people in society and attending to what we can on the roads."

For the Tour de France works, NYCC will provide £200,000 with the remainder coming from three district authorities along the rural part of the route: Richmondshire, Harrogate and Craven.

An NYCC spokesman said competitors were not expecting to ride on a velodrome-like surface, but said a series of inspections, repairs and planning works would be carried out ahead of the race to consider the risks to safety.

He said: “If it is found that remedial work is required on the route then the necessary work will be carried out.

“It is important to recognise that any work carried out will provide long term benefit for the whole network and all highway users for years to come and should not be seen as an expense solely for a single race.”