'We must rethink how roads are surfaced' says Burgess Hill resident

A Burgess Hill man believes the ways we build and repair roads needs a drastic overhaul.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 12:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 12:20 pm
Mill Road, Burgess Hill

Tired of hearing excuses that local highways chiefs ‘just don’t have the money’ Gordon Parr of Mill Road says: ‘Why does no responsible council take the bull by the horns?

“What they should do is say: ‘Here’s the problem. Here are the costs. How much do we need to get the job done properly? And let’s find out how to do it, possibly request loans, rather on the lines of requesting a mortgage. That would mean we could repair past problems, make good for now and prepare for the future.”

Mr Parr cites roadbuilding methods dating from Roman times where a hard-core sub base as set down and slabs or cobbles locked down on top enabling surface water to drain away.

He says regular maintenance must not lapse as deterioration accelerates. And he says if surfaces are not cut precisely when works are done to modern Tarmacadam surfaces, water penetrates after a freeze and thaw. He says Tarmac must be cut into with a clean edge and an outline sealed so water cannot get into the space causing the road to degenerate.

Mr Parr’s concerns focus on huge potholes which have appeared in his road, and many other main routes, not originally designated ‘A’ roads, which now bear heavy traffic north and south of Burgess Hill either side of the railway line. And by examination he’s discovered that the sub-base is not as good as it should have been.

He went on: “All utility companies have complex and detailed data, interactive maps and they use management tools to define what problems are, work out improvement costs and measure deterioration. Then, for various reasons the source of resources clams up.

“What is needed is a vast road renewal programme. Remember PFI where governments borrowed money to fund major improvement projects like hospitals? It’s imperative this work is done as roads are getting worse and no-one will face up to the real cost of improvements.”

Mr Parr has lived in Sussex for 40 years and worked for the Department of Transport and the Department of the Environment so is confident he understands the complexities of the action he seeks.

West Sussex County Council was approached for a comment.