Council launches �11million road repair programme
DEVON County Council is to lobby the Government for more cash to fix potholes in light of an estimated �11million repair bill caused by the recent freezing temperatures. With sub-zero temperatures causing road surfaces to become brittle on much of Devon s
DEVON County Council is to lobby the Government for more cash to fix potholes in light of an estimated �11million repair bill caused by the recent freezing temperatures.
With sub-zero temperatures causing road surfaces to become brittle on much of Devon's 8,000 mile road network, the council is this week preparing to launch an emergency inspection regime to identify and repair potholes.
Within the coming weeks, special teams from contractor South West Highways will complete emergency repairs, starting with the busier main roads, giving the council a detailed picture of how much damage has been caused by the recent cold weather.
The council has already fixed almost 40,000 potholes this financial year - double the usual amount - following last winter's severe weather, which was colder than the 30-year average.
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Temperatures dropped below freezing in Devon for 29 out of 30 days in December and into January this year. Last week temperatures dropped to as low as -16 C in South Molton overnight and the lowest road temperature was -12 C at Ashmill on the A361 North Devon Link Road.
Around 19,000 tonnes of salt has been used on Devon's road network since November 30, compared with the usual amount of between 10-12,000 tonnes for an entire average winter.
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Cllr Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for Highways and Transportation, said: "This has been the harshest winter for 30 years and as the snow and ice disappears, we are seeing potholes forming on our roads which are going to be a problem. We will now be starting a rapid response programme to get to grips with the potholes caused by this latest bout of snow, ice and freezing temperatures. We're taking proactive steps with concentrated inspections to find and fix defects as quickly as we can, which will give us a better idea of how widespread the damage is.
"We won't be able to get to every defect straight away because of the sheer size of our network, so we still need people to be our eyes and ears. We have already targeted resources at existing defects, and found new ways of working to repair potholes much more quickly and efficiently in recent months. But we will be stepping that up even more over the next few weeks, and it's now time that the government provides us with more resources to allow us to get to grips with this."
Devon County Council is currently in the midst of a major additional capital �2 million repair programme, with 88 schemes throughout the county, repairing more than 80 miles of roads.
Potholes and safety defects on the county's roads can be reported online at www.devon.gov.uk or by calling 0845 155 1004.