Drivers urged to take care while spring freeze grips West Sussex

JPCT 07-01-13 S13020594X Pot holes. Park Lane, West Grinstead -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 07-01-13 S13020594X Pot holes. Park Lane, West Grinstead -photo by Steve Cobb

Motorists are being reminded to drive with caution by West Sussex County Council as the spring freeze continues.

The coldest March on record since 1962, followed by similarly sub-zero weather in April, is affecting the county’s road network.

County Council contractor Balfour Beatty used 3,906 tonnes of salt to keep the roads safe during March after gritters were deployed on almost every night.

This is in contrast to last year, when mild temperatures meant hardly any salt needed to be used.

Stuart Smith, West Sussex County Council’s Highways Maintenance Manager, said: “We are urging people to take care on the roads while we are experiencing these conditions.

“Even though we are entering spring drivers need to keep their cars maintained as if its winter, so check things such as your screen wash levels and tyres.

“We would like to ask people to drive responsibly and safely whenever they travel out because of the effect the cold is having on our roads.”

Balfour Beatty continues to top up the supply of road salt in the depots and will grit every time the weather conditions require it.

Grit bins located across West Sussex have also been fully replenished – above and beyond West Sussex County Council’s statutory duty to do so.

Over 10,000 potholes have been filled in since the turn of the year, with a further 10,000 predicted to be fixed by June.

An extra £500,000 is being spent on providing extra pothole patrol crews to repair the roads under Operation Watershed, the County Council’s initiative to tackle problems caused by extreme weather.

This is on top of what is already spent on roads maintenance.

However, the cold weather has made it difficult for the County Council to keep up with pothole repairs.

Because of the wet and the cold, it is difficult to make permanent repairs to potholes.

Sometimes a temporary repair has to be used, which is monitored with a view to being fixed permanently later in the year.

Ground water levels are also still high and any additional rainfall brings the risk of flooding, with the threat of ice caused by the low temperatures.