South Glos potholes emergency

A WINTER emergency could be declared in South Gloucestershire as the road network suffers from record high levels of potholes.

The council has warned “extreme weather” over the next three months could mean the roads would deteriorate much faster than they can be fixed, with potential restrictions put in place.

In a worst case scenario, drivers could be restricted from using certain roads on safety grounds until they can be repaired, according to a report to the council’s December cabinet meeting.

Officers said: “Over a number of years there has been insufficient investment made into the local highway network nationally, and locally we estimate that our current core spend is approximately a third of what is required to keep steady state.

“The impact of climate change and increasingly extreme weather events, combined with the insufficient investment, has meant that it has become impossible to maintain the local network in a steady state condition.”

Last winter was a “key turning point in the state of the network”, according to council data, and roads in South Gloucestershire have not recovered since then. About 100 reports of potholes are normally received in October, however this October the council received 900.

This year reported defects peaked in South Gloucestershire in April, at over 2,000. A winter emergency would be declared if the council can’t repair a “significant percentage” of potholes fast enough, and would mean extra funding put in to boost the teams on the roads.

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service