25,500 potholes filled in nine months – but severe weather leads to new influx of pothole reports

“We are aware of the fresh influx of pothole concerns, sparked by severe weather and temperature changes, and will do all we can to repair those that need filling for safety reasons as soon as possible"

Innovation continues to be explored by West Sussex County Council in its fight against potholes. The Velocity road-patching system was deployed proactively in 2022 to treat areas of carriageways even before routine inspections have highlighted issues. It’s likely that Velocity will be in action again this year.

Release date: 12 January 2023

Approximately 25,500 potholes were filled by West Sussex County Council highway teams in just nine months in 2022 – but severe weather and temperature changes have sparked a new influx of pothole reports.

Following continued hard work and investment in improving the county’s highway network, approximately 25,500 potholes needed filling for safety reasons from April to December, 2022, compared to 30,000 for the same period in 2021. However, in the first 11 days of January 2023, our highways teams have received 2,500 pothole/carriageway-related enquiries from the public. For context, the total for the whole of January 2022 was 1,400 enquiries.

Matt Davey, the County Council’s Assistant Director, Highways, Transport and Planning, said: “We are aware of the fresh influx of pothole concerns, sparked by severe weather and temperature changes, and will do all we can to repair those that need filling for safety reasons as soon as possible.

“In November and December, 2022, our Highways teams received our second-highest number of pothole reports on record. Unfortunately, roads are not permanent structures: they deteriorate over time from constant use, the weight of vehicles using them and the effects of weather, resulting in new potholes.

“Older roads, potentially with small cracks, can be impacted by changes in temperature. West Sussex has experienced one of the hottest summers, then mild/wet weather, then the very cold snap from 6 to 15 December, followed by mild and very wet again, sometimes with flood conditions. These fluctuations, with torrential/persistent rain, combine to cause road surfaces to expand/contract and expand again, potentially causing further cracks and new potholes to form.

“We totally understand that potholes are a big source of frustration for all road users and we will investigate people’s concerns so we can prioritise repairing those which meet the safety criteria as quickly as possible.”

The County Council is responsible for maintaining around 2,500 miles of road: A and B roads are ordinarily inspected monthly, C-class and main distributor roads on a three or six-monthly basis and declassified roads are typically inspected annually. But our Highways teams cannot be everywhere at once, and so need residents to tell them if they are concerned about a pothole.

Reporting potholes: our new, online, e-form

“The best way for residents to bring potholes to our Highways staff’s attention is directly, please - via our new, online, e-form. There’s no longer the necessity to download an app, the online maps are easier to use, with greater levels of detail so Highways staff can more easily locate and investigate issues. We have also revised and improved our updates so that the information residents receive about their report is more frequent and detailed.

“To report a pothole, residents are asked to please go to the County Council’s website, select “roads and travel”  and “report a pothole online” – where they can read more information on what pothole sizes we prioritise – then click on report a pothole online

“Residents who historically reported via Love West Sussex are being redirected to the correct online form for the issue they want to report. People who have bookmarked or saved the Love West Sussex web online URL and/or App to their device are asked to please delete and save: Report a problem with a road or pavement

“Residents now also have the opportunity to view existing/open reports, pin-pointed on the map, and subscribe to updates by simply entering their email address, saving time on duplicate reports being submitted.”

Other action to improve the highway network

We are also taking a holistic approach to the condition of roads, with larger sections completely resurfaced on a priority basis, to make them more resilient to potholes, and vastly reduce the need for essential, small-scale repairs, which can cause disruption. Other forms of treatment, such as surface dressing and micro-asphalt, are also used to prolong the lifespan of suitable roads.

We know how important developing a modern infrastructure is to residents and businesses in West Sussex, which is why there are key targets on road condition in our Council Plan

From April to the end of December 2022, 145km of road were either completely resurfaced or had surface dressing or micro-asphalt treatments - representing a total investment of £8.1million in road surface improvements county-wide.

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