‘National Pothole Day’: Repairs are not the whole picture – £8.9million invested in pothole-prevention strategy


Highways teams continue to work hard, repairing potholes across the county. In 2019 to 2020, West Sussex Highways repaired 18,514 – that’s an average of about 350 every week.

‘We take a holistic approach to maintaining our road network, and carefully plan making the most of finite budgets with our resurfacing programme’.

Fixing significantly-sized potholes is done within 28 days, or sooner if the problem is severe. However, repairs are only part of the picture: we also:

  • resurface whole/large sections of roads, removing all the surface and replacing with a new one on top;
  • micro-surface, where a layer of asphalt emulsion is blended with finely-crushed stone to seal the road surface and stop further deterioration
  • use surface dressing, spraying the road with bitumen binder, followed by a layer of stone chippings which are then rolled in, sealing the road and restoring its skid-resisting properties

All three methods contribute to our pothole prevention strategy and in 2019 to 2020, we invested a total of £8.9 million treating 806,000m2 of carriageway using these three methods – that’s the equivalent of nearly 60 miles of road.

The benefits of this include maximising the road’s life and providing a better running surface. This leads to fewer localised repairs which would otherwise cause much greater disruption over time.

Roger Elkins, Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “We take the pothole issue very seriously – we know they are the bane of road users’ lives and our highways teams, and our contractor, work hard prioritising and repairing them.

“We also welcome National Pothole Day if it highlights the need for extra Government funding to help us improve our roads.

“However, to focus on potholes alone is deceptive: we take a holistic approach to maintaining our road network, and carefully plan making the most of finite budgets with our resurfacing programme.”

The draft 2020/21 programme is being finalised but will see further investment in West Sussex’s roads.

Some pothole facts:

  • Roads are not permanent structures and deteriorate over time from constant use, the weight of vehicles travelling on them and the effects of the weather. With the expansion and contraction caused by temperature change, deterioration will occur, resulting in new potholes.
  • In recent weeks, the frequent change between cold temperatures, to mild/wet weather, and back again, has increased the number of potholes on our roads.
  • The county council is responsible for maintaining around 2,500 miles of road. Repairing defects, such as potholes, is done on a priority basis, dependent on size and depth.
  • Our roads are inspected according to their hierarchy, with busy A roads, for example, inspected frequently but quieter routes inspected less often. However, people can help us by reporting concerns about potholes online , where they can also find out how we classify different-sized potholes.
  • While the county council is responsible for most roads in West Sussex, Highways England is responsible for, and maintains, the A27, A23 and M23.


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