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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Warning of more potholes in Essex unless roads cash pledged

An increase in the number of potholes and road defects being reported is set to continue unless there is more money for repairs, a council officer in Essex said.

David Forkin, the head of maintenance and operations at Essex County Council, said there was "a national funding issue" for highways maintenance.

More than 10,000 potholes and damaged roads were reported by the public in Essex between June and September 2023.

One in five of those was dealt in that period, Essex Highways figures show.

In the previous three months, 30% of reported defects were fixed.

All of the 242 reported road defects that were assessed as an emergency between June and September were fixed.

There are more than 5,000 miles of road in the Essex county area and 4,000 miles of footpaths that need to be maintained.

The A127 and Basildon had the most reported road defects that were repaired in the past three months.

Chelmsford had 2,096 reported problems, the most of any district, but only one in 10 of those cases had been fixed or scheduled to be repaired as part of a programme of works, such as resurfacing.

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An Essex Highways spokesperson said any road "defect" was assessed, with some emergency repairs done within two hours.

As of 30 September, there were a total of 21,743 carriageway defects in Essex yet to be fixed.

Between October 2022 and September 2023, there were 40,580 new road defects.

Nearly 72,000 have been repaired or fixed by resurfacing in that period, some of which would have been reported before October 2022.

Essex Lib Dem Group Leader Mike Mackrory said Essex Highways was "not making inroads" into a growing number of potholes in Essex.

Labour's Aidan McGurran told a council meeting each month saw the number of new defects "increasing quite dramatically".

Mr Forkin told councillors: "Unless we get to a position where we can afford to finance robust sustained investment in carriageways or in highways, that trend is likely to continue, but nationally, not just here."

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