Number of Suffolk pothole reports triple after harsh winter

Potholes on Foxhall Road in Ipswich

Potholes on Foxhall Road in Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The number of new potholes being reported in Suffolk has increased by nearly threefold over winter months, as the roads were battered by heavy rain, snow and ice.

Storm Darcy was just the latest in a string of bad weather to hit road surfaces and drainage systems.

In November 2020, Suffolk Highways received 438 pothole reports, then nearly doubling to 828 by December. In January there were 1,215 and in February so far there have already been 1,218.

Potholes on Foxhall Road in Ipswich

The potholes have been worsened by rain and snow storms - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

These numbers are thought to be similar to last year as a peak is generally expected in the winter. Potholes are caused by water seeping into cracks in the roads and then expanding once it freezes, breaking the surface.

A Suffolk Highways spokesperson said: "Similarly to the months following the Beast from the East in 2018, Suffolk Highways has seen an increase in defects on the county’s roads after Storm Darcy.

"These defects are caused by the water seeping into cracks in the road and expanding in the freezing conditions. Our gritting teams have now returned to their daily duties of assessing and repairing the roads.

"Due to quieter roads during the first lockdown from March 2020, we were able to carry out a lot of pothole repair work and resurfacing which helps stop potholes from forming in the first place, we are continuing our programme of resurfacing work over the coming year."

Potholes on Foxhall Road in Ipswich

Residents in Ipswich and wider Suffolk have reported potholes are eroding the edges of roads and making them barely a car-width wide - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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Residents across Suffolk have complained about worsening conditions — according to rural communities some roads are barely a car-width apart after potholes have fully eroded the edges.

Several people in Ipswich have said they would have preferred council money to be spend repairing road defects, rather than installing the new cycle lanes, while others say the surface dressings are only a temporary fix before they crack again.

Highways chiefs recently outlined their maintenance blueprint for the county's roads in the year ahead, which includes plans to resurface 140miles of roads, repair more than 20,000 potholes and strengthen six road bridges among other projects.

From the £27.2million budget, a further £3.4m will be committed to the county’s surface dressing programme.

Suffolk Highways asks that road users continue to let it know about potholes and other road defects via its reporting tool.

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