Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council, said: “We’ve got a massive challenge on our hands. The damage inflicted by snow and ice countywide on Hampshire’s roads, is severe. With a multi million pound repair bill on our hands, we’ve mobilised extra Pothole Busters gangs to go out immediately to make interim repairs and, with our budgets already under pressure, have had to re-programme planned maintenance work. Unless we receive significant extra national funding, it is likely to take around 12 months to get the road network back to the state it was before the winter.
“Reports of the RAC’s ‘fears’ that the cold snap will result in more potholes are absolutely correct. Highways maintenance has been underfunded by the Government for years, leaving the local road network in a state of decline, even before the snow.
“In Hampshire, we have invested an extra £10million each year in our planned maintenance Operation Resilience programme which is proving effective in reducing the rate of decline in our roads, but without additional Government funding, it is simply not possible to deliver overall improvements in the roads from year to year.
“The stark fact is that local councils are woefully under resourced for this vital part of infrastructure. The Government provides 52 times more funding for motorways and major trunk roads maintained by Highways England than they do for local roads. This is clearly a massive gap which must be addressed urgently, and we fully support the Local Government’s Association calls on the Government to reinvest some of the tax raised from motorists back into the roads used by millions of people every day.”
Hampshire residents are urged to report potholes and road defects direct to the County Council at: www.hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance/roadproblems.
Reporting defects via a third party means it takes longer for reports to reach Hampshire Highways teams.