Kent County Council highways teams set to tackle menace of potholes in wake of storms and floods
Highways gangs are poised to tackle an expected surge in potholes throughout the county in the wake of the severe storms and flooding.
New holes are expected to appear as water drains away from pavements, block paving and roads... causing new hazards to drivers.
Now Kent County highways crews - who cancelled holidays to repair damage caused by gale-force winds over the festive period - are preparing for the new menace.
It comes after the team dealt with a record number of jobs recently, with more than 1,500 calls about fallen trees in the flood's aftermath.
But often work can only begin when the water table levels have subsided.
David Brazier, Kent County Council cabinet member for transport and environment, said: “We are aware that many people suffered as a result of the severe weather. Our roads and infrastructure received a battering too.
The clear-up begins in Yalding
“The extreme wet weather will cause potholes and we have geared up to tackle this, making permanent, first-time fixes as the first choice repair process.
"On occasion we will make a temporary repair until a permanent one can be programmed in.
“We are committed to repairing these within our service standard of 28 days."
But the authority could still be out of pocket as a result of the floods, it's been revealed.
Environment minister Owen Paterson said this week he had opened discussions with councils in Kent and Sussex about reimbursing them some of the additional costs caused by the prolonged spell of bad weather.
But while KCC has signalled it will submit a claim under what is known as the Bellwin scheme, County Hall finance chiefs say the authority may not get a penny.
Crowds view the floods from Maidstone Bridge in 2000. Picture: John Wardley
Under the government’s regulations, councils must reach a financial threshold before qualifying for help.
In KCC’s case, that threshold is £3.3m based on its size and budget. Despite the extent of the crisis, the council believes it is unlikely to have spent that much.
Cllr John Simmonds, KCC finance cabinet member, said: “Despite the time and effort that our staff have put in during the recent appalling weather and the costs incurred in providing many forms of assistance to affected residents, it seems there is no way we will meet the £3.3million threshold set for us under the Bellwin scheme.
"We are still working on assessing the precise figures, but it is very likely that KCC will have to absorb those costs.”
Anyone can report potholes and other faults on the council's highways site, where details can be easily uploaded and locations pinpointed on an interactive map.
In the event of an emergency, residents should call 03000 41 81 81.
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