West Sussex County Council recently rejected a Liberal Democrat budget amendment that would have provided an extra £5 million for potholes and vital road repairs and a further £2 million for pavement repairs.
It was revealed that, even when repaired, many potholes require more than one visit, as the road surface crumbles around the repairs.
Morwen Millson, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, said: “The Tories claim that 1,250 potholes have been repaired each week since Christmas. The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport admitted later in the meeting that half of those repairs had failed.
“Yet, despite this record and the vast number of complaints about potholes received by all councillors, the Conservatives turned down the amendment.
“The Liberal Democrat amendment proposed that savings on this year’s budget should be used to get road repairs underway as soon as possible.”
Pieter Montyn, County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “The recent weather conditions across much of the south have led to an increase in pothole numbers here and in many other parts of the Country. This is a national problem. Here in West Sussex we have repaired close to 7,000 potholes since Christmas.
“There are normally twelve gangs available to deal with highway repairs; in order to keep up to standard with pothole and other repairs to our roads at this time, we have an additional six gangs which are directed to those spots where large numbers of potholes are reported.
“Where safety demands a fast response, a quick road surface repair- colloquially known as ‘cow patting’- will need to be carried out. Because of a number of possible physical reasons to do with frequency of use and wear by passing traffic, position on the road, or wet conditions of the substructure, such repairs, if left unchecked, may not have a long useful life. It is clear therefore that a balance has to be struck between safety, and revisiting a temporary repair for a more thorough scheduled and time consuming and invasive repair later.
“The general condition of the West Sussex road network is good according to the National Road Condition Survey, with only 3% of Principal Roads (A and B roads) in need of structural maintenance.”