Suffolk prepares for war with potholes after cold weather damages roads
Engineers from Suffolk Highways are preparing for all-out war with the county's potholes over the next few weeks after recent snow and ice.
Last week's conditions were perfect for creating potholes – and Suffolk Highways was already receiving thousands of calls about road problems before the big freeze.
In the first two months of 2018 it received 11,000 pothole reports – in 2017 it received 6,000 in the first two months and 19,000 over the whole year.
Officials are expecting the number to increase over the next few weeks as the effects of the big freeze become clear.
Extra road gangs to tackle potholes have been created across the county and a spokesman for Suffolk Highways said this meant some other routine repairs might be delayed as temporary repairs were undertaken.
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He said: 'Following our extremely busy week gritting and responding to snow clearance, our priority has now moved back to assessing and repairing pothole defects.
'We are pooling all of our available resource to manage incoming reports and get these defects assessed and if necessary, repaired, as soon as possible. In the meantime, we encourage all motorists to take care and drive to the conditions of the road.
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'When letting us know about a defect, please check the reporting tool first in case it has already been reported, if it has then rest assured it's ready and waiting to be assessed.
'During this time we urge people to report only urgent issues, so that this gives us chance to manage the most pressing needs first.'
He warned that in some areas where a number of potholes had opened up, gangs might only be able to deal immediately with the worst ones before moving on to other sites.
And Suffolk Highways officials were looking forward to the spring and summer when they would be able to get on with more long-term road repairs after the county borrowed money to help increase the number of miles of road that could get long-term repairs.
It hopes to rebuild a quarter of Suffolk's roads by March 2021 after borrowing £21m to carry out the repairs over the next three years. The spokesman said: 'Hopefully these repairs will mean the roads should be clear for 10 to 15 years – but we cannot start on that until the weather is warmer.'