Among the obvious victims of the unexpected (and unwelcome) March burst of freezing weather has been the road surfaces across Kent. Mainly on minor roads, but also to some extent on the motorways, there are now potholes galore. A number of people have been on to me about this.
Most of the roads in Kent are under the control of Kent County Council, and they have been working hard and quickly to address the issue. Over the past few days 1,200 potholes have been reported, one of the highest weekly numbers ever. The council has already started work on repairing the worst of these. Some need temporary but harder wearing materials to remove any immediate danger, while others require permanent repairs or even the re-surfacing of whole areas.
Naturally there will need to be a much bigger and more regular repair campaign when the spring finally comes in earnest. The Council is proposing to start in April, and I hope their meteorological optimist is correct. Major roads are inspected every month, but inevitably the more minor roads are seen much less often, so reports of problems from the public or parish councils are a necessary part of the repair process.
KCC say that they are allocating another two million pounds to this repair programme, and it will clearly be more necessary than ever this year. The Council emphasises that online reporting is the quickest way to tell it about new issues, and there is a special tool to do so at www.kent.gov.uk/highwayfaults. About half of highway reports come online, and every phone call saved leaves more time for repairing the potholes.
Of course there needs to be work done urgently on the motorways as well, and this falls under Highways England. I will be taking steps to ensure these repairs happen as well.