Better Roads campaign: our commitment to improving road conditions continues

Committed to tackling the impact of persistent, severe weather on the highway with both reactive and proactive measures

 
Clockwise from top left: road resurfacing in Newland Road, Worthing, Tarrant Street, Arundel, and Blackwater Lane, Crawley, all completed in the 2023/24 financial year, and road resurfacing completed in Orchard Street, Chichester, recently

Release date: 31 May 2024

A further package of multi-million-pound road repairs and improvements has started in West Sussex, proactively tackling our current pothole issues and also investing in larger-scale resurfacing across the county’s 4,000km road network.

Following additional funds being added to last year’s budget for highways maintenance, West Sussex County Council is committed to tackling the impact of persistent, severe weather on the highway with both reactive and proactive measures.

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 the last six months. This work will start in early summer to maximise the best working conditions.

The county council has so far received £4.3million (£2.161m in 2023/24 and £2.161m for 2024/25) from additional government funding announced in 2023. We are using this funding to deliver additional carriageway resurfacing works, with delivery having already started and the programme due to run to September 2024.

A further £10million from council funds has been committed for next year (2025/26) to continue the work needed to make our highway network more resilient for the future.

Cllr Joy Dennis, county council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “As with many councils across the UK, we are faced with the challenge of our road network in West Sussex having gradually deteriorated over the years due to there not being enough funding available to carry out all the required works.

“Unfortunately, roads are not permanent structures and they deteriorate over time from constant use, the weight of vehicles using them and the effects of weather. The recent periods of extreme fluctuations in weather across the seasons, with record levels of rainfall this most recent winter, have only served to accelerate the decline in the condition of some of our highways.

“We totally understand residents’ concerns about the current number of potholes and other defects on our roads and share their frustration. These latest figures for highway repairs and improvements show that we’re not just talking about the challenge - we’re taking action. Our highways teams are continuing to work hard to fix the issues, completing multi-million-pound improvement programmes and demonstrating our commitment to our Better Roads campaign.

“We have teams of highway officers out on the network identifying and assessing safety-related defects including potholes, both through routine inspections and by responding to customer reports. Our safety repair gangs are then tasked with fixing the safety defects.  During this busy period, we are currently fixing around 1,000 safety defects a week.”

Last year, our safety repair teams completed more than 46,000 safety defect repairs, of which approximately 30,000 were potholes. This is an increase of more than 5,000 from the previous financial year.

In more rural areas, we used three Velocity spray injection patchers to repair more than 23,000 further defects while also delivering proactive patching covering 26,000m2, which is equivalent to covering more than 130 tennis courts.

Our Planned Delivery team worked across 189km of roads in the last financial year, which were either completely resurfaced or had surface dressing, micro-asphalt treatments, or large-scale areas of patching and completed:

  • 75 full resurfacing schemes were completed, totalling approximately 43km. The new road surfaces are more durable, making them more resilient to potholes, and smoother, which lessens road noise.
  • Surface dressing was used at 31 sites, with 66km of roads treated. Surface dressing involves coating the road in bitumen and chippings and relies on the action of the traffic using the road to embed the chippings. It is used as a cost-effective method to prolong the lifespan of suitable roads.
  • 277 sites received micro-asphalt treatment, covering a total of 69km. This treatment delays the need to do more significant work and minimises disruption to residents and road users.
  • 11km of large-scale areas of patching were completed at 48 sites.

We are responsible for maintaining around 4,000km 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.

However, our highways officers cannot be everywhere, so the public’s help in spotting and reporting concerns are really appreciated. Details, including an online reporting form, are on our website. If a pothole is an immediate risk to public safety, you should call 01243 642105.

We also have information on our website explaining the process of identifying and repairing potholes.

For the very latest updates visit our Better Roads web page.

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