TWO years after Storm Desmond brought havoc to Cumbria, the county council says the cost of the December 2015 floods is "now clear".

The repair bill for the county's roads and bridges stands at £70 million, says Cumbria County Council - with the final total likely to top £120 million. The storm resulted in:

- 7,465 properties being flooded

- 3,034 children unable to attend school

- and almost 18,000 homes without electricity.

The county council says the impact on Cumbria's roads and bridges "left some of the most indelible images of the floods", such as the collapse of the historic Pooley Bridge and the catastrophic damage to the A591 through the centre of the Lake District.

Since Storm Desmond more than 1,600 separate surveys and inspections of bridges, roads, culverts, slopes and retaining structures have been undertaken. Around 1,200 flood-damaged bridges, roads and other locations were identified for repair, including 784 damaged or destroyed bridges.

So far 278 bridges have been repaired or rebuilt, such as Staveley village's Gowan Old Bridge. Some 264 bridge projects are under way and 242 are scheduled to start "in the coming months".

Meanwhile, 108 miles of road have been resurfaced - around three per cent of Cumbria's total road network.

The county council estimates more than 700,000 hours' work have been done so far. It described the scale of the council's response as "unprecedented", with the annual volume of repairs to the highways network more than doubling.

CCC says it worked closely with the Department for Transport to secure "significant additional funding for the county". So far the council has let more than £70 million of contracts, of which almost £55 million has gone to Cumbrian suppliers.

Cllr Keith Little, Cabinet member for highways, transport and fleet, said: "Two years on we’re still in the thick of dealing with the impact of Storm Desmond, and we will be for at least another year. 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, 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."

Mr Little added: "It’s particularly pleasing that local Cumbrian contractors have been successful in securing contracts; this has been about ensuring something positive comes out of what was a difficult and traumatic period for so many of our residents.

“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 network and we know that can sometimes cause frustration. But it is necessary and we do make every effort to minimise any disruption.”