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Wet winter blamed for Suffolk’s crumbling roads as pothole tally rises daily

PUBLISHED: 05:30 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:44 06 January 2020

Potholes in Mickfield.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Potholes in Mickfield. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Hundreds of new potholes have been reported in Suffolk over the past two weeks as the wet winter weather takes its toll on the county’s roads.

Potholes in Ashdown Way, Ipswich.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPotholes in Ashdown Way, Ipswich. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The online Suffolk Highways Reporting tool showed there have been more than 6,650 road defects reported, rising from 6,023 on December 20.

MORE: 6,000 road defects in Suffolk this Christmas

In Ipswich, there are now more than 1,000 defects, a figure which has risen by 150 in the past fortnight, while Bury St Edmunds has 740, an extra 200.

Potholes and other road defects including damaged road signs, bridge supports and furniture on the road, can be reported using the county council's online tool - which also maps existing complaints to avoid motorists registering issues that have already been flagged.

Potholes in Rectory Road, Middleton  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPotholes in Rectory Road, Middleton Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Jamie Calver was forced to abandon his car after hitting a huge pothole - measuring around 3ft in diameter and around 6in in depth - in Brook Lane, Old Felixstowe, just before Christmas and had to walk two miles home.

He said: "The most concerning thing was when I went to report the pothole on the Suffolk Highways reporting tool, I noticed it had already been reported at least 13 times over the course of three weeks. I received an automated email back telling me it would be fixed within 8 weeks.

"I believe the pothole has been made temporarily safe, awaiting permanent fixing at a future date."

He added: "I had no choice but to hit the pothole due to oncoming traffic, the bend in the road, no street lighting and no warning signs.

Potholes on Portman Road, Ipswich   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPotholes on Portman Road, Ipswich Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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"This pothole could easily have caught a cyclist out and seriously injured them. The debris strung across the road and pavement also made it a hazard to not only other road users but also pedestrians."

Suffolk Highways say that their data shows they currently have 1,400 potholes that have been ordered for repair, and around 200 reports due for investigation.

A spokesman said: "We've experienced a very wet winter here in Suffolk, and as a result of the rain and cold spells, water in the roads freezes and expands which is why more potholes occur this time of the year."

Felixstowe Pothole~1Felixstowe Pothole~1

The department recently changed the criteria for potholes which need repair work, meaning they now send out teams for potholes measuring 200mm in diameter, instead of 400mm.

They say that this will allow the teams to repair them quicker and spend less time driving to and from jobs.

The highways spokesman reassured that they are prepared to deal with the increase from poor weather, saying: "We have undergone extensive works in 2018/19 to prepare for the expected increase in potholes, before the winter season.

"On top of the new approach to dealing with potholes, Suffolk Highways has surface dressed over 254 miles of road in 2019.

"Surface dressing is used to seal cracks in the road surface and helps to prevent deterioration caused by the freezing and thawing of water."

The Christmas period saw plenty of wet weather and flooding, although temperatures were fairly mild.

MORE: Stunning aerial shots reveal extent of Suffolk flooding


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