Suffolk Highways goes to war on potholes


Suffolk Highways has declared war on the potholes which are opening up on the county’s roads, following one of the worst winters in recent years.

Temporary measures have been put in place to help deal with the volume of customer reports and reactive orders which have increased following the bad weather Suffolk has experienced since November; this coupled with the fact that reactive gangs have been committed to snow clearance and gritting following last week’s arrival of the Beast from the East.

Since the start of 2018, Suffolk Highways has received in excess of 11,000 reports, which compares with approximately 6,000 reports in the same period last year; demonstrating the impact this weather has had on the county’s road surface.

Suffolk Highways has put in place the following measures with immediate effect to help cope with the demand:

  • The deployment of additional gangs to undertake pothole and road repairs across the county
  • Switching to a different temporary material to repair emergency potholes which, although slightly more expensive, provides a longer-lasting repair in damp conditions
  • For large areas of intervention-level pothole defects, Suffolk Highways will consider whether 'making safe' (through organising traffic management and temporary road closures) is required in advance of making extensive repairs
  • Extra resource will be brought in to undertake larger-scale patching works as part of a planned programme for dealing with sites on which traffic management or road closures have been arranged or areas where small-scale repairs will not sufficiently address the road deterioration
  • Moving internal resources from other teams to support the inspection of customer reports, particularly from staff with previous experience of dealing with customer reports and inspections

Councillor Jane Storey, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Highways, Transport and Rural Matters, said:

“Last week’s weather was undoubtedly some of the worst we’ve seen in years. Our dedicated teams were fully focused on gritting and responding to snow clearance - our priority has now moved back to assessing and repairing pothole defects.

“We are continuing to bring together all available resource to manage incoming reports and get these defects assessed and, if necessary, repaired as soon as possible. In the meantime, we encourage all motorists to take care and drive to the conditions of the road.

“When letting us know about a defect via our reporting tool, please check the map first in case it has already been reported; if it has then rest assured it’s ready and waiting to be assessed. During this time, we urge people to report only urgent issues, so that this gives us chance to manage the most pressing needs first.”

This extra push to repair the high volume of potholes in the county is being assisted by the extra £21 million funding which has been borrowed to resurface a quarter of all roads managed by Suffolk Highways, by 2021.

These resurfacing works are being carefully planned to start in the following warmer months, reducing the impact on road users during the works.