Gangs of ‘Pothole Busters’ will be out on the roads of Hampshire ‘in a matter of days’ as the sector expressed dismay over the potential for the Beast from the East to have done serious damage to the local road network.
Hampshire County Council added it has had to reprogramme planned maintenance work as a result of the recent extreme weather.
Cllr Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport, said: ‘We’ve got a massive challenge on our hands. The damage inflicted by snow and ice countywide on Hampshire’s roads, is severe.
‘With a multi-million pound repair bill on our hands, we’ve mobilised extra Pothole Busters gangs to go out immediately to make interim repairs and, with our budgets already under pressure, have had to re-programme planned maintenance work. Unless we receive significant extra national funding, it is likely to take around 12 months to get the road network back to the state it was before the winter.’
Cllr Humby said the RAC was ‘absolutely correct’ to predict that the cold snap will result in more potholes.
He added: ‘Highways maintenance has been underfunded by the Government for years, leaving the local road network in a state of decline, even before the snow.
‘In Hampshire, we have invested an extra £10m each year in our planned maintenance Operation Resilience programme, which is proving effective in reducing the rate of decline in our roads, but without additional Government funding, it is simply not possible to deliver overall improvements in the roads from year to year.’
Cllr Humby said the council supported the Local Government Association’s call for the Government ‘to reinvest some of the tax raised from motorists back into the [local] roads used by millions of people every day’.
The council said it was urging its residents to report potholes and road defects directly here www.hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance/roadproblems as reporting defects via a third party means it takes longer for reports to reach its highways teams.
Registration is now open for the 27th Annual Cold Comfort conference and exhibition. The annual winter maintenance event takes place on 16th and 17th May at the Ricoh Arena Coventry.Register Today and take advantage of the Super Early Bird Discount.
The 5th Annual Cold Comfort Scotland winter maintenance conference and exhibition takes place on 26th April at the Hilton Dunblane Hydro. Take advantage of the Early Bird Discount by registering today.