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Pothole and highways compensation claims double in Suffolk

Potholes continue to cause problems for drivers around Suffolk Picture: PA

Potholes continue to cause problems for drivers around Suffolk Picture: PA

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The number of compensation claims linked to potholes and damaged road surfaces in Suffolk in 2018 more than doubled on the year before, new figures reveal.

Suffolk County Council highways cabinet member Mary Evans visits teams repairing potholes with new thermal patching technology in Stoke-by-Clare. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYSSuffolk County Council highways cabinet member Mary Evans visits teams repairing potholes with new thermal patching technology in Stoke-by-Clare. Picture: SUFFOLK HIGHWAYS

Data published ahead of a Suffolk County Council scrutiny meeting on Thursday, March 14, reveal there were 1,323 claims for compensation due to road and highways issues from January 1 to December 31 in 2018.

This figure is more than twice the number in 2017, where there were a total of 647 claims.

And it seems to be a growing trend - the figure in 2017 had almost doubled over the number in 2013, when there were 363 compensation claims.

Among the 1,323 carriageway claims, 1,300 were due to surface defects, such as potholes, while the remaining 23 related to loose debris, signs, lighting, defects to verges and water and snow on the carriageway.

In addition to the highways claims, a further 69 claims were received by the council to do with footpaths - six for signage issues and 63 for surface defects.

However, most of the claims are likely to be dismissed if Suffolk County Council can show it repaired any significant road surface damage within good time.

Last year, figures revealed that over a five year period, more than 85% of claims were successfully defended by the council.

In October, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, Mary Evans, unveiled plans for a new pilot scheme to help tackle potholes on the county’s road network.

It followed a report that revealed the reliance on temporary fixes coupled with the large number of potholes that had been reported in the county meant certain spots had to be prioritised.

This meant maintenance crews were often spending more time driving too and from pothole sites than actually fixing them

The new pilot, which was first trialed in Ipswich focusses teams on potholes in a single area of the county, meaning more would be fixed.

Suffolk Highways also acquired three Nu-phalt thermal pothole repair machines in December, allowing potholes to be repaired during winter conditions.

The £300,000 kit was funded by a £9.6million windfall from the Government’s Autumn Budget.

Suffolk Highways reported the machines fixed 1,700 potholes in January alone, and now plan to adapt its fleet of vehicles with the technology.

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