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Thousands of road defects in Suffolk waiting to be fixed

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More than 6,000 road defects across the county are on the Suffolk Highways reporting tool – but highways chiefs have said the number is normal for this time of year.

Suffolk Highways’ online reporting tool has 6,023 defects reported across the county as of yesterday morning, including 855 around Ipswich, 508 around Bury St Edmunds, 299 in Lowestoft and 306 in Eye..

That includes potholes, damaged bollards and pavement issues among others. Around 1,377 potholes have been ordered for repair.

A pothole can cause damage to a car
A pothole can cause damage to a car

Suffolk Highways changed its approach to repairs earlier this year, which meant the new threshold was 200mm in diameter rather than 400mm previously.

According to then-cabinet member for highways Mary Evans, it was to make the service more efficient and help stop repair crews spending more time driving between potholes than actually repairing road defects. It has also reduced the number of return visits, and helps pro-actively deal with potholes before they become larger and more problematic.

A Suffolk Highways spokeswoman said some of those defects still on the reporting tool have been repaired, and added: “A review of recent performance data has confirmed that our revised approach has improved service delivery, with our teams now more productive, repairing additional defects per day.

“The number of potholes which Suffolk Highways has received via the highways reporting tool are at an expected level for this time of year.

“To prevent a year similar to the Beast from the East, where we received an unprecedented number of carriageway defects, Suffolk Highways has undergone extensive works in 2018/19 to prepare for the expected increase in potholes before the winter period. Between April 2018 and March 2019, we surface-dressed 254 miles of the Suffolk highway network.

“Surface dressing is used to seal cracks in the road surface ahead of the winter season. With rain and cold spells, the water freezes and expands, forming potholes.”

According to Suffolk Highways’ data, between January 1 and December 18 this year there were around 1,700 fewer defects than the same period in 2018. This week, one motorist snapped a giant pothole at the junction of Brook Lane and Quilter Road in Felixstowe, which has now had a temporary fix carried out to make it safe.

Others reported include those in Butt Road, Great Cornard, Bell Lane in Kesgrave, Chalk Hill Lane in Great Blakenham and several in Ipswich – Lower Dales View Road, Fuschia Lane Dale Hall Lane, Foxhall Road, Henley Road, Kipling Road and Norwich Road.