Pothole claims leap after big freeze

MORE than two compensation claims are made every week by drivers whose cars are damaged by pothole-riddled roads in Suffolk, it can be revealed today.

MORE than two compensation claims are made every week by drivers whose cars are damaged by pothole-riddled roads in Suffolk, it can be revealed today.

The figures have come to light following a Freedom of Information request submitted to county council highways bosses by The Evening Star.

The statistics reveal an increase in the numbers of claims and the amount paid out to disgruntled drivers.

In 2006, the council received only 56 claims but by 2008, that figure had leapt to 107. However, only ten claims in 2006 and 20 in 2008 were successful.

The council was forced to pay out a total of �13,725 over the three years.

The issue came to the fore during the winter months when the bitter freeze left Suffolk's crumbling road network riddled with gaping potholes.

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The epidemic became so severe that the cash-strapped county council was forced to urgently pump an extra �150,000 into an emergency operation to repair the shredded tarmac.

Transport chief Guy McGregor said numbers of motorists reporting potholes in Suffolk rocketed fivefold, prompting the council to dispatch gangs of road workers to repair damaged carriageways.

At the time, motorists contacted the Star to reveal how their cars had been damaged by driving over potholes.

Among the areas worst hit in Ipswich were Tuddenham Road, Romney Road, Cromer Road, Nacton Road, Heywood Close and Sheldrake Drive.

The problem is not confined to Suffolk - motoring group The AA estimates there has been a 40 per cent increase in road damage due to the winter freeze.

A county council spokesman defended the rise in compensation claims.

“The county council manages 4,100 miles of roads across the county,” he said.

“While we endeavour to keep our roads free from potholes, we have had some claims which have resulted in small amounts of compensation being paid.”

Has your car been damaged after driving over pot hole-riddled roads? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Claims Received Claims Paid Amount Paid

2006: 56 10 �4,395

2007: 72 9 �3,559

2008: 107 20 �5,771