Pothole epidemic on Sussex roads

The Argus: Potholes are blighting Sussex roads Potholes are blighting Sussex roads

Drivers are battling a “pothole epidemic” on Sussex’s crumbling roads – with thousands of new cracks and craters reported every week.

Emergency repairs to patch up the problems are set to bring many roads across the county to a near-standstill in the coming months.

Town hall bosses blamed freezing temperatures and wet weather for the crisis and promised millions of pounds would be spent repairing the damage.

But motoring campaigners and one highways boss suggested “serious underinvestment” in the county’s roads was partly to blame.

Roger Williams, head of highways at East Sussex County Council, said his team now took 250 pothole reports every day.

He said: “We have certainly seen an epidemic of potholes in recent weeks. The main problem has been the wet and cold weather, which has made things a lot worse.

“But there has also been a serious underinvestment in our roads over decades.”

Since the crisis began, East Sussex County Council has increased the number of pothole repair gangs from eight to 24 – with 500 holes now repaired every day.

Serious disruption

However, Mr Williams admitted the work was already causing serious disruption to journey times – and warned there would be much more pain to come.

He said: “In an ideal world we would be able to do it differently, perhaps overnight. But it costs 50% more to do it that way.

"Asking people to work at night is more dangerous for them too. I absolutely understand that drivers will be concerned but cost is a major concern and we have to make every pound count.”

However, motoring campaigners said more needed to be done to make the county’s roads “fit for the 21st century”.

'Cuts bite'

Paul Wattes, head of roads policy at the AA, said: “There’s simply not enough money spent on road maintenance.

"When cuts bite, road maintenance is always the first one for the chop and yet it’s crucial to the way we all live our lives and do business.”

On Tuesday, February 19 drivers sat in six-mile tailbacks on the A259 between Newhaven and Peacehaven while crews carried out emergency work.

Next Monday (February 25), the coast road between the Drove roundabout in Newhaven and Bishopstone will be partially closed all day while crews repair the pockmarked surface.

East Sussex county councillor Pat Ost, who represents the area, said the disruption was likely to be “horrendous” – but it could be a price worth paying.

Resurfacing essential

He said: “The important thing is that we resurface the roads rather than just patch them up.”

West Sussex County Council said it continues to do “everything it can” to fix the cracks and trenches formed over the winter months.

Around 1,250 potholes a week are being fixed by six dedicated gangs as part of Operation Watershed, the local authority’s £8.25 million programme to deal with issues caused by flooding.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We respond to all pothole reports within 24 hours. If we can’t fill them immediately we make them safe with barriers or similar until we can. Around 100 potholes were reported to us over the Christmas period.”

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Comments (14)

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1:13pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Ballroom Blitz says...

#thirdworldcountry
#thirdworldcountry Ballroom Blitz

1:14pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Hoarder12345444 says...

Well they have said it already. Pot holes everywhere. State of the roads are very poor in most places. Where does all my car tax go I wonder?
Well they have said it already. Pot holes everywhere. State of the roads are very poor in most places. Where does all my car tax go I wonder? Hoarder12345444

1:17pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Zamora25 says...

Everyone should invoice Brighton and Hove Council for the damage to the damage to the suspension, tracking, tyres etc. Then and only then might they actually do something about it!
Everyone should invoice Brighton and Hove Council for the damage to the damage to the suspension, tracking, tyres etc. Then and only then might they actually do something about it! Zamora25

1:41pm Thu 21 Feb 13

taman says...

ahh but we have some lovely cycle lanes
ahh but we have some lovely cycle lanes taman

2:31pm Thu 21 Feb 13

In the sticks says...

Great video.

Most insightful.
Great video. Most insightful. In the sticks

3:38pm Thu 21 Feb 13

panda_electrical says...

Perhaps East Sussex County Council could answer why when they closed this road for periods late 2012 to resurface parts of it they have to send crews back in again to repair potholes in other sections, poor planning for the first resurfacing? Further; as Southern Gas have to dig up the A259 at weekends in Peacehaven why not the council as well. These are rhetorical questions because as everyone knows the answer is government (local or otherwise) never make mistakes and only do thing for the common good, probably sitting in the van listening to the radio is better for me than actually working.
I guess more lost revenue and time stuck in traffic on Monday so the Council can save some money.
Perhaps East Sussex County Council could answer why when they closed this road for periods late 2012 to resurface parts of it they have to send crews back in again to repair potholes in other sections, poor planning for the first resurfacing? Further; as Southern Gas have to dig up the A259 at weekends in Peacehaven why not the council as well. These are rhetorical questions because as everyone knows the answer is government (local or otherwise) never make mistakes and only do thing for the common good, probably sitting in the van listening to the radio is better for me than actually working. I guess more lost revenue and time stuck in traffic on Monday so the Council can save some money. panda_electrical

3:48pm Thu 21 Feb 13

chilliman says...

What was the purpose of the video - just vehicles driving along without a single close up of a pothole? There wasn't even a cycle (or a cycle lane) to be seen.
What was the purpose of the video - just vehicles driving along without a single close up of a pothole? There wasn't even a cycle (or a cycle lane) to be seen. chilliman

5:53pm Thu 21 Feb 13

graham w says...

I blame escc, & wscc, for not doing any proper road resurfacing over the last. 17 years.the county councils lack of any investment in roads , will cost road users in Sussex.... Sue them for any damage to yr cars... Then they may wake up....
I blame escc, & wscc, for not doing any proper road resurfacing over the last. 17 years.the county councils lack of any investment in roads , will cost road users in Sussex.... Sue them for any damage to yr cars... Then they may wake up.... graham w

5:53pm Thu 21 Feb 13

graham w says...

I blame escc, & wscc, for not doing any proper road resurfacing over the last. 17 years.the county councils lack of any investment in roads , will cost road users in Sussex.... Sue them for any damage to yr cars... Then they may wake up....
I blame escc, & wscc, for not doing any proper road resurfacing over the last. 17 years.the county councils lack of any investment in roads , will cost road users in Sussex.... Sue them for any damage to yr cars... Then they may wake up.... graham w

7:27pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Far gull says...

We might have some good cycle lanes .but cyclists you better stay on them as there are some serious accidents waiting to happen on the roads. this applies to motorcycles as well.
Perhaps less office staff ,more grafters out on the roads.
We might have some good cycle lanes .but cyclists you better stay on them as there are some serious accidents waiting to happen on the roads. this applies to motorcycles as well. Perhaps less office staff ,more grafters out on the roads. Far gull

8:14pm Thu 21 Feb 13

nocando says...

they threaten us with prison if we don't pick up the tab but somehow it all gets a bit murky between payment and delivery.
How do we get rid of these people?
they threaten us with prison if we don't pick up the tab but somehow it all gets a bit murky between payment and delivery. How do we get rid of these people? nocando

10:05pm Thu 21 Feb 13

FatherTed11 says...

'We respond to all pothole reports within 24 hours' - b*******
'We respond to all pothole reports within 24 hours' - b******* FatherTed11

10:57pm Thu 21 Feb 13

Uncle_Meat says...

fixmystreet dot com
Don't know if it works but it's got to be worth a try.
I suspect our loony green overlords have just left the roads to get so poor so they don't need to install sleeping policeman for all the 20mph limits they intend to implement.
fixmystreet dot com Don't know if it works but it's got to be worth a try. I suspect our loony green overlords have just left the roads to get so poor so they don't need to install sleeping policeman for all the 20mph limits they intend to implement. Uncle_Meat

1:55am Fri 22 Feb 13

mimseycal says...

Ah well ... you see the thing is that not all the roads belong to ESCC/BHCC ... some ctually belong to one and others to the other. The further complication is that even within a given authority, a given stretch of road may actually belong to a specific department rather then the authority as such; as for instance Housing.

So before they get around to finding the money to repair a pothole, they have to spend some money finding out who actually owns the pothole ;-) Same goes for pavements BTW and don't even think of asking about alleyways ...

Thanks for the fixmystreet link Uncle_Meat.
Ah well ... you see the thing is that not all the roads belong to ESCC/BHCC ... some ctually belong to one and others to the other. The further complication is that even within a given authority, a given stretch of road may actually belong to a specific department rather then the authority as such; as for instance Housing. So before they get around to finding the money to repair a pothole, they have to spend some money finding out who actually owns the pothole ;-) Same goes for pavements BTW and don't even think of asking about alleyways ... Thanks for the fixmystreet link Uncle_Meat. mimseycal

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