£500k to fix Staffordshire's 6,500 problem potholes
THOUSANDS of potholes are to filled after an extra £500,000 was earmarked to repair the region's roads.
Highways workers have identified 6,500 patches of crumbling road surfaces across Staffordshire in the last six months – double the number on the previous year.
Staffordshire County Council will use cash from the next financial year's £43.5 million road maintenance budget to cover the cost.
But it hopes to recover the money from central Government later in 2013/14.
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Councillor Mike Maryon, Staffordshire's highways chief, blamed the increase in potholes on the recent bad weather.
He said: "Well maintained highways are vital to Staffordshire's economy and for the past three years we have successfully reduced the number of potholes on our roads.
"However, the extreme weather has impacted on the highways and we've identified 6,500 new potholes in the last six months, following the county's wettest year on record and which will have increased further, because of recent heavy snow and a further deluge of rain.
"The severe weather we've been experiencing has taken its toll, but once conditions allow, our dedicated highways team will be out and about repairing the potholes, which are a hazard for motorists."
The council will spend an average of £77 on fixing each pothole.
But Mr Maryon added: "This will be a temporary measure as we can't repair the roads properly in the cold weather as the materials won't adhere. We will be looking to reconstruct the roads in the summer.
"We are doing all we can to fix the problem but will have to prioritise. I'd ask people to be patient as this is a huge job and will take some time."
The extra funding has been welcomed by residents who say that driving on the county's roads at the moment is like 'negotiating an obstacle course'.
Sarah Gayton said the road outside her home in Argles Road, Leek, and across the town was dotted with 'huge craters'.
The 42-year-old added: "The potholes on my street seem to have been there for so long they are now part of the landscape.
"A lot of cars coming along here try to dodge them but because it's such a narrow road, it's quite hard to avoid them.
"They have definitely got worse over the years.
"There's a few elderly and blind people who live on the street and the potholes are a tripping hazard for them."
Anne Brockley, aged 74, of Wolstanton, said she too was fed up of dodging a pothole in Church Lane.
She added: "It's quite a big hole and when I walked past it yesterday, it looked a real mess and was crumbling away.
"When a car went past, some road debris actually flew onto the pavement. You see a lot of motorists swerving to avoid it when they go past.
"It's especially dangerous for bikers who might not see it at night.
"The hole has been there for the past 12 months and it's got bigger now ice and snow have got into it.
"When my daughters take me shopping in the car, I always tell them to watch out for it."
To report a pothole, call the council on 0300 111 8000.