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Will Suffolk’s roads be pothole-free when the Women’s Tour arrives?

PUBLISHED: 16:34 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:34 08 March 2018

Potholes on the Women's Tour route at Middlewood Green near Debenham.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Potholes on the Women's Tour route at Middlewood Green near Debenham. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

As Suffolk County Council ramps up its battle against potholes after the winter freeze, one route around the county is set to get special attention over the next three months.

Potholes in Mickfield on the route of the Women's Tour - will they be filled by June 13?  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPotholes in Mickfield on the route of the Women's Tour - will they be filled by June 13? Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The route of the Women’s Tour on June 13 is set to get special attention from the pothole gangs – ensuring the roads are as smooth as possible for the star cyclists.

The route from Framlingham to Southwold via Woodbridge, Ipswich, Stowmarket and Framlingham (again) is mainly on A and B roads which are normally a priority for pothole repairs – and an extra effort will be made to ensure they are clear for riders.

Suffolk Highways’ road mapping tool shows a number of potholes have been reported along the 130km route – some in the Wickham Market and Melton areas are scheduled to be repaired “within 14 weeks” which could take it very close to race day.

However officials at the council made it clear their staff would be ensuring it was all clear before the race.

Women's Cycling Tour coming through Woodbridge in June 2016 - will the roads be as clear as this in June?Women's Cycling Tour coming through Woodbridge in June 2016 - will the roads be as clear as this in June?

A council spokeswoman said: “Suffolk Highways are responsible for over 4,000 miles of roads across the county. Following the recent bad weather, we have declared a war on potholes to improve the overall state of roads across the county.

“While we don’t have specific plans around road repairs ahead of the Women’s Tour, our inspectors do know the routes and will of course inspect them in advance of the race in June.

“We have held stages of both the Men’s Tour and the Women’s Tour in Suffolk in previous years and event organisers have commended the condition of the county’s roads during previous events.”

There are strict rules and inspections of roads in the weeks before the race and just before the event itself.

It is clear that ensuring these roads are smooth and ready for riders will be a priority for the organisers.

Across the county, Suffolk Highways has received 11,000 reports of potholes during the first two months of 2018 – twice the number for the same period last year and that was before the snow and ice hit last week.

To cope with the increased demand Suffolk Highways has created extra road repair gangs to tackle problems – and is using different material which lasts longer in wet weather.

It is also planning a major road repair programme starting in the spring.

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