Keep roads in shape is not straightforward

Maintenance of the highway network in West Sussex is one of the county council’s top priorities.

Maintaining the network is not as straightforward as it may seem. We have just suffered one of the wettest years since records began and the impact on our highways has been severe.

Since before Christmas, the combination of very heavy rain, snow and cold weather has caused real problems for road surfaces throughout West Sussex, causing flooding and potholes. We always see an increase in potholes at this time of year, but this year is considerably worse because the high levels of surface water have created new potholes as well as expanding existing ones. The sheer volume of potholes has made it impossible for us to fix them as they occur.

Operation Watershed is the county council’s new campaign to fight the problems caused by the recent extreme weather conditions. It is backed by £8.25m funds and is focused on fixing flooding hotspots and consequential highway damage.

Operation Watershed is supporting an extra nine pothole patrols in addition to our usual 12 gangs out and about finding and fixing potholes. Our highway network is extensive, but we can’t be everywhere, which is why we encourage residents to report any road defects they come across to us.

The best way to report is through our contact centre on 01243 642105.

We have a programme of planned highway maintenance, which identifies works to be carried out over the next few years. Works are prioritised, priced and timetabled for delivery, though this is always subject to change if there are adverse weather conditions.

We know about the roads highlighted for repair by your letter writers. We are just finalising the Operation Watershed works programme now and I am confident the majority of projects will be delivered within the next six months.

Geoff Lowry

Head of Highways and Transport

West Sussex County Council