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County pledges to fix potholes and drains

More than £8 million will be spent by West Sussex County Council on road repairs, drainage and environmental improvements in areas hit by floods.

The council yesterday (Thursday) announced an £8.25 million fund aimed at fixing drainage blackspots on the roads, restoring roads damaged by the winter weather and supporting community solutions, such as working with the owners of private ditches.

This fund is in addition to money already being spent by the council on repairing potholes throughout the county.

Cllr Louise Goldsmith, leader of the county council, said: “We promised  that  the  report   into  the June floods was just the beginning and would be translated into action. In view of the weather in recent weeks, there is an even greater urgency.

“Now we have the finance in place, we can look in detail at schemes that will reduce the impact of future flooding on home owners, our business community and road users.

“In the first instance we will be focusing on areas that have suffered repeat flooding to ensure that this money is well invested and has significant benefits.”

In a separately-funded initiative, county council contractor Balfour Beatty is sending out “pothole patrol crews” to the areas of West Sussex worst affected by potholes.

But a council spokesman stressed: “The volume of potholes reported so far makes it impossible for these to be fixed as they occur.

“West Sussex, along with the rest of England, is recovering from one of the wettest years since records began, with torrential rain taking a heavy toll on the county’s road network.

Six hundred potholes have been reported to the county council since Christmas Eve.

“Surface water made the problem worse because water washes away loose particles of road surface whenever vehicles pass over them. It also accelerates the rate at which new potholes appear.”

Cllr Pieter Montyn, county council Cabinet member for highways, said: “We are dealing with the havoc caused by some of the worst wet weather for over a century.

“While we cannot get on top of this situation overnight, we ask drivers to please be patient and bear with us while we fix these problems. In the meantime, the onus is on road users to drive responsibly and take greater care when out on the roads.”

A driver is unlikely to be compensated if his or her vehicle is damaged by a previously-unreported pothole, but residents can report potholes and drainage issues using the contact details at the end of this report.

Cllr Montyn added: “If you are reporting a pothole, estimate the width and depth. The more detail you provide, the easier it is for us to deal with your reported concern.”

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