Suffolk's work on 2,000 potholes comes under fire
PUBLISHED: 07:30 27 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:02 27 January 2020
Highways engineers in Suffolk are currently waiting to deal with nearly 2,000 potholes across the county with almost 400 more reported problems awaiting inspection.
The number has risen as this is the worst time of the year for potholes with wet roads and regular overnight frosts exacerbating the problem.
But opposition Labour councillors at Suffolk County Council are warning that Suffolk Highways appears to be struggling to get on top of the problem - and that the county's roads are starting to look "shabby".
Suffolk Highways said it currently had 1,960 potholes that have been ordered for repair in the system and 379 reports due for investigation. Those are included in its highways reporting map which currently shows 7,828 reported faults on the county's roads - many of them potholes - but also issues like dirty or damaged signs, blocked drains causing flooding, and damaged pavements.
A spokeswoman for Suffolk Highways said the weather had lead to a peak in customer reports. Water on the road freezes and expands which is why more potholes occur at this time of the year.
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However, Labour's transport spokesman Jack Owen felt not enough was being done to sort out the problems.
He said: "I recently took a council engineer to look at a multitude of highway issues in my local area; broken road signs, poor road surfaces, potholes and parking issues on narrow roads where residents are looking for parking restrictions.
"I know that many other communities right across Suffolk are facing similar problems.
"With the highways budget cut, yet again, it's difficult to see where the funding would come from to carry out these necessary works. It also seems to me that after a period of time, things get missed off the reporting tool.
"Here lies the problem; the professionals know there are a number of issues to deal with. Our residents who use our roads on a daily basis see them deteriorating. Yet, as our roads crumble and our highways look shabbier, the Tories continue to cut funding. Once again, Suffolk's residents are having to pay higher and higher council tax in return for deteriorating public services."
Andrew Reid, cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, at Suffolk County Council said: "With more than 4,000 miles of highway to maintain, there will always be defects, especially in the winter months.
"We have, however, made significant improvements to the way we deal with potholes and other road defects which mean our staff are able to respond quicker and deliver longer lasting repairs. This includes additional funding, greater efficiency and new equipment. This sits alongside our programme to resurface 1,000 miles of Suffolk road by 2021."