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Norwich's roads riddled with pot-holes

PUBLISHED: 16:00 08 January 2011

Pot-hole in Jessop Road, Norwich

Pot-hole in Jessop Road, Norwich

Archant Norfolk 2010

The cold and icy weather which gripped the city last month may seem like a distant memory but the sub-zero temperatures have once again played havoc with Norwich's roads.

An Evening News investigation can reveal that gaping holes have opened up across the city due to the wintry weather.

There have been reports of “particularly nasty” pot-holes in Gurney Road, near Mousehold Heath, Newmarket Road in Cringleford and at the junction of King Street and Bracondale.

Others have been spotted in Dereham Road, Jessop Road, Lakenham Road and Yarmouth Road.

Last year an extra £1.5m had to be diverted into fixing Norfolk’s pot-hole-ravaged roads. It is too early to tell the full extent of the problems this year and how much it will cost to repair all of the cavities but council officials have insisted they have enough funds to cover the costs. Motorists, meanwhile, have had to pay a hefty price with repairs costing hundreds of pounds.

Matthew Skinner, assistant manager at STS Holburn Tyres in Canary Way, said: “At this time of year, there’s always an influx. Customers have had to have their wheels changed because they had buckled or they need their wheels realigned because the tracking has been knocked out.

“We get it every year after we’ve had cold weather.”

He said the cost of repairs vary from car to car but yesterday a Ford Focus needed a new wheel and tyre which cost about £230 in total.

Pot-holes are caused by water or snow filling existing cracks in road surfaces and freezing. The expansion this causes breaks open the road, which is revealed when the ice melts.

It is believed because of the severity and earlier-than-normal arrival of harsh wintry conditions, which saw temperatures in Norfolk plunge to minus 12 degrees celsius, the next few months will be a “miserable period” for road users.

Taxi driver Stephen Royal, secretary of the Norwich Hackney Trade Association, said: “Pot-holes cause a great deal of problems to taxi drivers and all motorists.

“The councils did a very good job during the year repairing last year’s pot-holes but I have seen a great number of pot-holes already this year.

“There are some serious ones about and we fear they won’t be repaired as soon as they ought to be due to the financial position.”

Michael Dale, chairman of Norwich Cycling Campaign, said: “The roads in Norwich are in a horrendous state. The cold weather didn’t do as much damage as last year, in my opinion, but they are starting to open up again now. I expect that the next bout of cold weather will cause even more problems.”

Norfolk County Council has budgeted £1.1m for immediate pot-hole repair and also has £5.9m available for patching, which is often follow-on work where potholes have been temporarily repaired or used as an early response to obvious deterioration of a road surface.

Norwich City Council, which is responsible for the roads within Norwich’s ring road, does not budget for pot-holes but gets money from the county council. This works out at a £562,000, which covers both pot-holes and road patching.

A City Hall spokesman said: “We are not experiencing an unusual amount of pot-holes at the moment but it’s a bit early to say and we may get some cold weather again.

“We are continuing to inspect and carry out repairs when needed. If anyone spots a pot-hole in Norwich, they should report them to us online or by ringing in.”

She said the council has a statutory requirement to keep roads safe so it will be maintaining its repair service as normal despite financial cutbacks.

A County Hall spokesman said: “We have been receiving a steady flow of reports, which is to be expected and not unusually high. However, we know that it can take some time for problems to emerge as traffic works on underlying damage.”

Are the pot-holes bad where you live? Send us your pictures to newsdesk@archant.co.uk and we will use some of the examples in the paper.

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