MORE than three-and-a-half years since Storm Desmond hit the county, council teams are continuing to work hard to restore road links.

A total of 982 individual schemes - including bridge and road repairs, embankments, public rights of way, and footpaths - are involved in a four-year programme by Cumbria County Council.

So far, 835 of these have been completed, with the road between Gaitsgill and Raughton Head near Carlisle being the latest project to reopen to motorists earlier this week.

Another 115 projects are in progress, with 32 that are yet to begin - including major work at Pooley Bridge near Ullswater.

During the storm, 557 bridges were damaged or destroyed and there are about 100 left to be fixed.

Since then, £3.2m has been paid in grants to small businesses and £2.4m has been paid out in community support payments to households.

The Infrastructure Recovery Programme’s £120m budget, which started in 2016, has spent £86m so far, with £34m left to spend by the before it finishes next year.

Councillor Keith Little, cabinet member for Highways and Transport, hailed the work carried out by the councils teams and local contractors as ‘incredible’.

He said: “Over three years on, we’re now coming towards the final phase of the four-year Infrastructure Recovery Programme to deal with the impact of Storm Desmond.

“The work our teams have done, side by side with local contractors, has been incredible.

“It’s not just the scale and quality of what’s been done on the ground that’s so impressive, but the work behind the scenes to project manage such a large number of schemes, across a wide area and involving numerous local communities has required real skill and dedication.

“It’s particularly pleasing that local Cumbrian contractors have been successful in securing the vast majority of contracts to carry out works, keeping money and jobs local and ensuring that Cumbrian people have been the driving force behind the county’s recovery,” he continued.

“I’d also like to thank the public for their patience, it’s been unavoidable that there has been a lot more work on the road network and we know that can cause frustration.”

“But it is necessary and we do make every effort to minimise any disruption in what is a very complicated and varied package of recovery and repair works.”