Sunday, 6 January 2013

How to deal with the pothole menace in East Sussex

Regular readers of my blog and Twitter feed will know that I've become a Councillor on a mission where potholes are concerned and am regularly pestering the County Council Highways Team with reports of potholes when I find them or have them reported to me or if I feel that the Contractors who repair them on behalf of you and I (the taxpayer) and the County Council have not repaired them to a high enough standard.

Obviously during the last two or three winters we have seen more extremes of weather with a fair amount of snow and in recent months lots of flooding. This places much greater pressure on the road surfaces and causes lots of additional damage on top of the normal wear and tear of use. For example, I road I use fairly regulary at weekends from the Drusillas Roundabout on the A27 into the village of Alfriston was closed and under water last week. Now the water has drained back into the river and the clear up operation is well underway it is very clear that not only have lots of potholes opened up but also silt from the river has collected on the roads and in a couple of places, low lying flint walls have even given way with the volume of water.

That said when contractors go out, we should expect a good quality repair that is capable of lasting more than five minutes and I don't believe we have been getting that anywhere near often enough. All repairs should involve cutting back properly, draining water and debris from the exposed hole, filling with tarmac and then sealing around the edges to protect the repair. This only takes minutes longer than some of the substandard repairs I have come across. I am advised by Highway Officers that if the repair is not completed to the correct standard, then we don't have to pay for it so I intend to highlight as many of these poor repairs as possible until standards improve and the contractors get the message!

East Sussex County Council have in an effort to improve quality, re-organised the way they deal with Highways at this level. Each area of the County is looked after by Highway Stewards and Eastbourne that means two individuals who constantly monitor the condition of our roads, dealing with emergencies and inspecting and prioritising less important repairs. I feel sure that this will make a big difference in the coming months but I would still urge members of the public to assist by bringing any potholes or poor quality repairs to their attention. Details of how you can do this feature below and there is also an online reporting system which enables you to pinpoint exactly where problems are on a map. Please help officers to help you by giving as much information as you can about the size of the hole and its position.


If you spot a dangerous pothole that could cause immediate risk to public safety, speak to our contact centre on 0345 60 80 193. More information about dangerous potholes is set out below.

Tell us

To help our crews find the pothole, be as detailed as you can.

Location of the pothole

  • road name or junction
  • nearby landmarks or house numbers
  • town or village.

Describe the pothole

  • how big and deep it is (only measure it if you can do it safely), eg golf ball, tennis ball or football-sized
  • where on the road it is, eg the edge or middle.
Your contact details – in case we can't find the pothole and need to find out more.

How to contact us with details of a pothole

Twitter: @esccroads
Emergency Telephone: 0345 60 80 193

What happens next?

If the pothole is dangerous, we will make it safe within two hours and fix it within 24 hours. Less urgent potholes will be fixed as soon as we have a crew working in the area. This is usually within a week.
Completed works are monitored to ensure the road is safe for public use.

Dangerous potholes


A pothole in a part of the road that would be dangerous to all vehicles, including bicycles and motorbikes and which measures:
  • on the busiest roads more than 40mm deep and more than 300mm in diameter
  • on all other roads more than 100mm deep and more than 300mm in diameter.

Potholes - damaging to wheels and tyres plus the debris can damage windscreens

Above: A good quality repair which has been cut back, filled and then sealed to last longer
Below: A poor quality repair, this will open up in days again and require rectification

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