War on potholes continues as Suffolk County Council make 6,500 repairs since January 1

Suffolk County Council has said it is continuing its war on potholes. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Suffolk County Council has said it is continuing its war on potholes. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Archant

More than 6,500 potholes in Suffolk have been repaired since the start of the year as the county council continues its all-out war to tackle the issue across the county.

Suffolk County Council has received double the amount of pothole reports than in the same period las

Suffolk County Council has received double the amount of pothole reports than in the same period last year. Picture: PA WIRE/PA IMAGES - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Suffolk County Council (SCC) says a further 950 pothole repairs are scheduled over the coming weeks and additional road gangs have been brought in to help with the county’s backlog.

Since the start of 2018, Suffolk Highways has received around 9,500 pothole reports from the public – some of which are duplicates – which is double the number received during the same period last year.

SCC says this demonstrates the impact the severe winter has had on the county’s road surface.

A new approach to repairs is also being trialled with areas suffering from particularly high volumes of reports being “blitzed”.

This means inspectors visit areas with high concentrations of potholes and, providing they meet SCC’s repairs criteria, order work which is then carried out all at the same time.

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But Jack Owen, Labour county councillor for Sudbury, says “years of underfunding” has led to the current condition of the county’s roads.

He said: “It’s about time they [SCC] got to grips with the problem. Years of neglect and years of underfunding have led to this.

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“Undoubtedly they think they are doing something and they probably are, but it’s like taking a quarter of an inch paintbrush to paint your fence.

“Most of this is about underfunding over many years.

“The roads in Sudbury are awful and I’ll be getting in touch with Highways to find out what’s being done.

“I suppose we had that two-week period of bad weather, but then the roads were not in good condition prior to that cold snap.

“It isn’t just the potholes, the roads are breaking up.”

SCC has highlighted the work it is doing to fix and combat potholes in the county.

The authority says 50 works have been ordered in Haverhill and inspections have also been completed in Bury St Edmunds, Withersfield, Hundon, Newmarket, and Pakenham.

Road gangs are currently focused on completing work in Bury and the other locations are being scheduled for coming days and weeks.

In March, Suffolk Highways also began trialling a new ‘Roadmender’ machine, which is a vehicle with an asphalt mixer on the back.

It works by keeping the material at a consistent and ideal temperature for compaction and only uses the quantities needed, limiting any waste material. SCC says this is an alternative treatment technique and the results are currently being analysed.

In addition, Suffolk Highways’ says its surface dressing programme began last week with the first of 360 sites.

The first step of the programme is to undertake road repairs and preparation work – which will include repairing potholes.

Surface dressing is a treatment that improves skidding resistance, helps to make the road waterproof, protects against frost and water damage and is cost-effective, normally lasting between 6 to 12 years.

John Clements, head of infrastructure management for Suffolk Highways, said: “We would like to thank the public for reporting defects via the highways report it tool.

“We are continuing our war on potholes and are bringing together all available resource to manage incoming reports and get these defects assessed and, if necessary, repaired as soon as possible.

“It is important to understand that we can’t fix everything – what a customer perceives as a pothole might not be big enough for us to fix within the resources we have available. But we are doing everything we can and will continue to improve Suffolk’s roads.

“Suffolk Highways’ community wardens are currently assessing the surface dressing programme against the reports received for pothole repairs, this will ensure Suffolk Highways focuses its reactive efforts and resource on the areas that are not earmarked for surface dressing.”

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