Storms see pothole repair effort trebled

13:22 21 February 2014

East Devon

East Devon's Old Beer Road is among parts of the highway network devastated by bad weather. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shb 1641-07-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.midweekherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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Fallen trees, floods and embankment slips among other problems

THE number of pothole repair teams deployed by the council to fix Devon’s storm-ravaged roads has almost tripled.

The authority has also recorded more than 1,300 reports of fallen trees and branches on its highways since December 23.

It has also seen more than 150 embankment slips and more than 4,000 flooding incidents across the county.

Around 11,500 potholes have also been reported by the public or found by highway inspectors so far in 2014.

In response, the number of teams dealing with pothole safety defect repairs has increased from 13 to 34 - with an extra 52 staff tackling the problem.

The approximate additional cost of the work is around £65,000 a week.

The clear-up of the storm damage is estimated to cost around £3 million to the end of the financial year.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways and flood prevention, said: “Coastal areas have taken the biggest hit but we’re seeing severe damage right across our network.

Despite putting extra resource into repairs there has been a massive increase in pothole numbers, from about 2,000 a month in a normal winter to about 7,400 in January alone.

Met Office data has shown that in December, rainfall was 143 per cent of the average - and in January it was 183 per cent.

The council is still left with the legacy of the remaining repairs from the £18 million of damage caused by the storms of 2012/13.

The maintenance backlog to bring Devon’s roads up to scratch currently stands at £770 million.

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

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

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