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Potholes: Help us highlight Exeter's worst roads

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: February 21, 2014

  • Heron Road, Sowton Industrial Estate. Photo Rob sims

  • Pothole: Market Street- Exeter. Photo by Helen Crossfield

  • Burnhouse Lane, Wonford. Photo by Gordon Richardson

  • Butts Road, Heavitree. Photo: Adam Walmesley

  • Goldsmith Road, Heavitree. Photo: Adam Walmesley

  • Whipton. Photo: Adam Walmesley

  • Whipton. Photo: Adam Walmesley

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Exeter's crumbling roads are suffering from more potholes than ever before - and we want your help in mapping the worst of them.

More than 11,500 new potholes have been created in Devon as a result of the winter storms this year – The news comes as the number of teams repairing potholes in the county has been trebled as the bill for dealing with widespread storm damage continues to mount.

In Exeter Councillor Marcel Choules is calling for urgent action to have potholes in Burnthouse Lane repaired.

He said: “At the brow of Burnthouse Lane, by the school the road is deteriorating and is in fact crumbling.

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“It is the same up by the shops across from the entrance to Shakespeare Road.

“Highways officers really should be checking on these roads.

“Burnthouse Road is nice and tidy and this is spoiling how it looks.”

Over the winter storm period, since 23 December, the county council has recorded more than 1,300 reports of fallen trees and branches on Devon's roads, more than 150 embankment slips, and more than 4,000 flooding incidents across the county.

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, but the county council is yet to finalise a figure for the damage caused by the storms as the road network and structures are still being assessed.

Help us create an map of the worst roads in your area – fill in the form at the bottom of this page, with a picture if you can, and we will add it to the map below.

Click on each point to read more (Note: map may not work on Internet Explorer. Please open in Google Crome)

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management and flood prevention, said it was going to be a long - and expensive - job.

“These storms have illustrated how fragile our road network is.

“Coastal areas have taken the biggest hit but we’re seeing severe damage right across our network, and the cyclic nature of the storms has made the clear-up much more difficult than the storms in 2012/13.

“The Government has said that it will foot the bill for the storm damage, but 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.”

Coun Hughes said recent changes to the Bellwin rules, which guide how central government will fund local authorities, have been “helpful” in reducing the trigger point for funding to kick in from about £1.7 million to about £1 million before financial help is available.

With clear up costs escalating to about £3million, Devon’s liability for this is capped at £1 million.

However, he added: “The problem we’re likely to find is where roads have been washed away and need reinstating or potentially moving further inland, the capital required for permanent repairs won’t be covered by the Bellwin scheme, even in its revised form.

“I have lobbied Government for extra funding and we are also working with Devon’s MPs to explain the impacts of insufficient funding on our roads.”

Coun Hughes said the county council had put a case to the Department for Transport for £15 million of extra capital funding in 2014/15.

Devon County Council is still left with the legacy of the remaining repairs from the £18 million of damage caused by the storms of 2012/13, which will have to be funded from future capital allocations.

The maintenance backlog to bring Devon's roads up to scratch currently stands at £770 million. Devon’s 8,000 mile highway network, bigger than the total road network in Belgium and the biggest of any authority in the UK, needs around £64 million of investment a year to maintain the current condition of Devon's road network.

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

Fill in our form below – with a picture if you can:

Please note: words will appear on the map as they appear in the form, so please provide as much detail as possible – where on road, what size, how many, how long

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  • Bungo  |  February 21 2014, 9:01PM

    At last, a use for all those unsold copies of the express and echo,

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