Call for 'urgent action' to repair potholes that are causing cars to swerve
- Credit: Sam Stott
Villagers have expressed their anger that "extremely dangerous" potholes on a key route could take up to six months to repair.
Residents of Thurston and nearby villages have been voicing their dissatisfaction over the state of the roads, which have been described as an "accident waiting to happen".
Drivers have said cars are swerving to avoid the potholes at Fishwick Corner in Thurston, ending up in the path of oncoming traffic.
As recently as Thursday, April 29, someone logged a report on the Suffolk Highways online tool saying they had witnessed a cyclist "hit one of the ridiculously big potholes in Thurston by the bridge near Cracknells Garage and almost ended up under a car".
"Does the council intend to fix these problems or do they need someone to lose their life before they take action?," they wrote.
Locals and their council representatives have been trying to put pressure on Suffolk Highways to repair the potholes - with the stretch between Fishwick Corner and the railway bridge a key area of concern.
On visiting the site on Tuesday, April 27, officials confirmed four potholes were on order for repair - but this could take up to six months as they do not meet a higher intervention level. Two of these potholes are at least 2m by 1m in size.
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A spokesperson for Suffolk Highways said the road was classed as Category 4a, which residents were told means local road, minor rural road or cul-de-sac.
This classification has riled locals as this is the main route into Thurston from its nearest town of Bury St Edmunds and the village is growing rapidly, with five major developments taking place.
Thurston Parish Clerk Vicky Waples said the situation was "not acceptable".
"This needs intervention at a much earlier date and I think they have to review it at Suffolk County Council," she said.
Many residents were keen to speak with us to express their concerns. We have included some of the comments below.
Susanna Levy, from Thurston, said the potholes at Fishwick Corner needed to be repaired "urgently".
"I have had to swerve into the path of oncoming traffic - you are driving and you don't see the potholes until the last minute. It's bad enough in a car, but a cyclist? It's ridiculous."
Paul Hicklin 52, a company director from Thurston who drives a Jaguar XE, said the potholes at Fishwick Corner were "extremely dangerous".
He added: "How long do we keep repairing our cars when the roads could be fixed?"
A Woolpit resident said they hit a pothole on Fishwick Corner, which destroyed their tyre and they had a three-hour wait to be recovered by the RAC.
Thurston resident Brenda Bruce, 73, who previously had a spring break when her car hit a pothole on Mount Road, said: "The trouble with potholes is the longer they are left, the worse they get, especially if they are not done this side of autumn and we are going into winter again."
She questioned why the repairs weren't made when there were less cars on the roads because of lockdowns.
The Suffolk Highways spokesperson said: "Unfortunately, the county’s roads have suffered deterioration following the severe weather earlier this year.
"However, we have brought in extra resource and continue to work to repair potholes as soon as we can."
Wendy Turner, a Mid Suffolk district councillor (Green Party) for Thurston, said the roads in and around Thurston were "extremely dangerous due to the size of the potholes and the disintegration of the sides of the roads".
She added: "We have five major developments happening in the village which means there are far more lorries and heavy plant vehicles than normal using the roads in and around the village and I’m sure this is having a detrimental impact on the roads.
"On Thursday a cyclist hit a pothole and almost ended up under a car, an incident that has been predicted by the local parish council and myself.
"Thurston Parish Council, myself and Suffolk County Councillor Penny Otton have been in contact with highways to try and get the roads repaired, so far we have not had a satisfactory response.
"The parish council have reported the potholes on the weblink on numerous occasions. I really do fear the next person to hit one of the big potholes will not be so lucky as the cyclist."
The Suffolk Highways spokesperson said they were raising the issue of verge overrun with the respective parties to understand what could be done to remedy these defects.
- The Suffolk County Council election candidates for Thedwastre South are John Augustine (Conservative), Philip Cockell (Labour), defending candidate Penny Otton (Liberal Democrats).