Better Roads

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2023/24 Pothole roundup

We understand how frustrated people feel about the exceptional number of defects currently present on some roads in West Sussex and the impact this has on travelling around the county.

We feel that frustration too and are working hard to make improvements using the resources available to us.

Here you will find information on the work our Highways teams are doing across our road network, from pothole repairs to full resurfacing, to provide a road network we can all be proud of.

Please use the quick links below for more information:

How we prioritise repairs

Report a pothole

View a map of roadworks in West Sussex

Find out where our planned infrastructure schemes are for 2024/25

How to claim if your vehicle has been damaged by a pothole

Our challenge

Did you know we have 4,000km of roads to maintain across West Sussex.

Unfortunately, roads are not permanent structures and deteriorate over time. The recent periods of extreme fluctuations in weather across the seasons, with record levels of rainfall this most recent winter, has only served to accelerate the decline in the condition of our roads.

Right now, we are focussing on the high priority work of repairing safety defects. As such we have:

  • our contractor’s safety repair teams working twilight shifts and Saturdays to manage the increased number of safety jobs.
  • increased the number of teams working on repairs and will continue to add to this resource.
  • find & fix teams who are predominately operating in urban areas to identify and repair defects.
  • continued to operate jet patching machines in more rural areas to carry out larger scale patching.
  • continued with the ‘Right First Time Approach’ we adopted last spring where the default is for potholes to be “Sides Sawn and Sealed”.
  • committed to only carrying out temporary repairs in an emergency or where a large-scale patching/resurfacing is imminent.

How potholes form

Pothole repairs

We received more than 17,000 pothole reports in the first four months of 2024 and, when the weather conditions are poor, it can also impact our ability to conduct quality repairs - making things even more challenging.

In 2023/24, our Highways Operations team completed:

  • over 45,000 safety defect repairs, of which 29,661 were potholes, an increase of over 5,000 from the previous financial year
  • 23,000 defect repairs in more rural areas, using the three Velocity road patchers while also delivering proactive patching of 24,300m2.

We use three main methods to repair potholes on our roads:

  • Sawn repairs, which involves cutting out the defective area of the highway to create solid edges around the pothole, breaking out the entire cut area to a solid base, sealing the area with a bituminous seal, then backfilling and compacting with the appropriate surfacing material. Sawn repairs are used in more urban, high-traffic areas.
  • Unsawn repairs, which involve removing all failed material, sealing the area with a bituminous seal, then backfilling and compacting with the appropriate surfacing material. This repair type will only be used when a sawn repair is not practical and when a quick repair is needed to remove a safety issue, for example, large areas of the road have structurally failed.
  • Spray injection patching, which uses high velocity air to clear out any debris from the pothole before applying a coat of cold bitumen emulsion to provide a waterproof seal, followed by a mixture of aggregate and bitumen emulsion to form the repair before compacting the area down. Spray patching is used in rural areas to tackle both potholes and other areas where the road is showing signs of weakening.

We also deliver a number of other activities to manage carriageway deterioration:

  • Small hand-patching resource, delivering high quality permanent sawn repairs up to 20sqm per site.
  • Large hand-patching resource, delivering high quality permanent sawn repairs up to 100sqm per site.
  • Large machine-patching resource, delivering high quality permanent sawn repairs up to 500sqm per site.

Resurfacing treatments

A roundup of resurfacing works throughout financial year 2023/24

In 2023/23, our Planned Delivery Team carried out complete resurfacing, surface dressing, micro-asphalt treatments, and large-scale areas of patching across 225km of roads:

View a map of the locations of planned resurfacing works in West Sussex in 2024/25

Other maintenance

Highways infrastructure

The Highway and Transport Delivery Programme identifies highways infrastructure maintenance and transport improvement schemes.

It is funded from Highway Maintenance and Transport Improvement Grants, supported by other external contributions such as development section 106 funding (developer contributions) and West Sussex County Council's corporate capital funding.

The programme maintains our roads, footways and highway infrastructure elements, such as bridges and traffic signals, with this year’s programme being the largest we’re aiming to deliver in recent years, with a budget of £45million.

Full details of major infrastructure projects

How we spend the funding provided by Government for highways maintenance in West Sussex

Our budget

An outline of WSCC funding for highways in the 2024/25 financial year

This financial year, in addition to our base budget for highways maintenance and operations of £43.8million, we have invested:

  • an extra £4million to support highway maintenance, including pothole repairs.
  • an additional £7million to increase our carriageway resurfacing and treatments programme to more than £20million, enabling highways teams to deliver one of their largest programmes of works to date.
  • a further £2million to tackle the significant carriageway patching backlog across the county following the very wet conditions over autumn and winter. This work will start in early summer to maximise the best working conditions.

The Department for Transport announced in November 2023 that they would be providing £67.6m of redirected HS2 funding over 10 years to West Sussex. So far, we have received £4.3m (£2.161m in 2023/24 and £2.161m for 2024/25) which we are using to deliver additional carriageway resurfacing works. This work has already started with the programme due to run to September 2024.

This funding is provided by central government to improve local highways maintenance, particularly for the resurfacing of carriageways, cycleways, and footways to prevent potholes and other road defects from occurring. The list of resurfacing schemes can be found here - Road Resurfacing Fund - West Sussex County Council

A further £10million from council funds has been committed for next year (2025/26) to continue the work needed to provide a resilient highways network for the county.

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