Potholes are taxing the patience of drivers again on crumbling Mid Sussex roads and further afield.
The Middy has received complaints about the condition of the roads, after the recent prolonged spell of rain.
In response West Sussex County Council is sending out ‘Pothole Patrol’ crews to target areas where the problems are worst.
It admits there are too many potholes to be fixed as they are spotted and is asking for patience while contractors tackle a backlog.
Residents appear to believe that a harder-wearing solution needs to be found because filled holes are becoming damaged again.
Middy reader Graham Cawsey criticised the county council and wrote complaining of: “Having my suspension and body subject to all the potholes and the total degradation of the roads in and around Burgess Hill.”
And Mr Cawsey added: “Our wonderful council spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on tar and chippings in the summer but did nothing to repair the potholes, now we have drain covers and manholes one to two inches below the road surface, we have appalling subsidence where the tar and chippings were thrown down, and potholes opening up on a daily basis.”
District and town councillor for Burgess Hill’s Leylands Ward Pru Moore said she fully endorsed Mr Cawsey’s concerns about the state of roads and had held meetings with highways officers regarding Leylands Road in Burgess Hill. She said his detailed comments about the state of repairs were “representative and fair”.
David Macmillan, from Lindfield, is particularly worried about danger to cyclists.
Mr Macmillan contacted the Middy to complain about the “current state of our roads, especially those in Hanlye Lane, Staplefield Road from Slough Green, Backwoods Lane Lindfield, Black Hill Lindfield, Appledore Gardens Lindfield and Hazelgrove Road Haywards Heath”.
And he warned: “The number, area, depth and also proximity to the kerb are a massive hazard to any cyclist and also to motorists trying to avoid swerving cyclists, but also to avoid impending damage to themselves by swerving away from these ‘enlarging craters’.
Mr Macmillan added: “The problem has been getting worse and worse. And this is before we get to the period of snow and ice.
“They fill holes with asphalt and gradually the traffic movement scours it out.
“Most of these holes are not suitable, in my opinion, for filling just by throwing in a bag of soft asphalt.
“They ought to be a little more pro-active in getting around. Most of the problems that I have been highlighting have been in existence in excess of a month.”
The latest criticisms coincided with a post-Christmas warning from West Sussex County Council to drive slowly on roads which have been affected by flooding over Christmas.
The council said that heavy rain which fell during the holiday period has led to an increase in the number and size of potholes being reported.
Lionel Barnard, Deputy Leader of West Sussex County Council, said in a statement on the situation: “We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact the wet weather is having on our road network.
“But in the meantime people need to remember to drive responsibly when faced with flooded roads.
“Please go slowly wherever there is water on the road – there could be a pothole hidden underneath.”
The council said surface water had exacerbated the problem with existing potholes, as the water washed away loose particles of road surface whenever vehicles passed over them. It also accelerated the rate at which new potholes appear.
It said the the county council’s contractor Balfour Beatty has been busy assessing and fixing potholes throughout Christmas and New Year.
In a further statement updating the situation the county council said 600 potholes had been reported since Christmas Eve.
The council said it was making a full assessment of the current state of the roads, in order to prioritise repairs according to safety risk.
In addition to the regular programme of pothole repairs, ‘Pothole Patrol’ crews will be deployed by the County Council’s contractor Balfour Beatty to target worst areas.
But it warned the volume of potholes reported so far made it impossible for these to be fixed as they occurred.
County council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Pieter Montyn, said: “We are dealing with the havoc caused by some of the worst wet weather for over a century and 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.”