Pothole nightmare: Council promises action

The main road through the village of Harcombe has become hazardous with pot holes. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 7058-10-14AW The main road through the village of Harcombe has become hazardous with pot holes. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 7058-10-14AW

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
4:31 PM

A stretch of road on Sidmouth outskirts has become a nightmare for motorists after relentless rain and gale force winds unearthed huge potholes.

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Frustrated householders who live and travel around Harcombe, near Sidford, are appealing for the problem to be tackled before the situation worsens.

Householders said low-slung vehicles were getting caught in the potholes on Underlane and said had a van had to be pulled free after it became trapped in one.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon’s cabinet member for highways management, said: “A safety inspection has been carried out on site and any safety defects will be repaired accordingly. I have also invited MP Hugo Swire to take a look at the road with me so that he can relay to the Department for Transport the kinds of problems we are facing on our 8,000-mile road network.

“We have suffered from the wettest winter on record and the flooding we have experienced has played havoc with our highway network. We have responded by increasing our pothole repair teams from 13 to 34.”

The extra 52 staff will tackle the problem at an approximate cost of £65,000 a week. But with more than 11,500 potholes reported by the public and found by highway inspectors in 2014 alone, the need for action is as strong as ever.

Cllr Hughes added: “We are also awaiting a response on our application for additional funding to deal with severe damage caused by the winter weather.”

Devon’s 8,000-mile highway network, the biggest of any authority in the country, needs around £64million of investment a year to maintain its current condition.

The council will receive £35million for its capital highways budget from Government for the next financial year.”

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