16,000 potholes fixed

WARNING signs that a number of Exmouth and Devon county roads needed further investment for repair have been evident for a long time.

WARNING signs that a number of Exmouth and Devon county roads needed further investment for repair have been evident for a long time. Ironically - given highways bosses had asked for an extra �2million for its budget after they had discovered more potholes - a Comprehensive Performance Assessment report praised the state of the council's driving surfaces.The assessment, conducted by the Audit Commission last year, concluded that the state of minor roads in Devon were in a 'reasonably good' condition. The commission studies and rates each service area within a local authority, helping them improve the work they offer to their communities.But, further performance indicators revealed that a sizeable percentage of minor and unclassified roads needed attention.A spokesman for Devon County Council said before the extra �2million investment was agreed they were already spending �7million a year fixing and repairing roads. She added: "We are experiencing an unprecedented number of potholes on the roads, since we had some of the worst winter weather in the county for 20 years. "Over 140 men are working, day in day out, repairing them on our 8000-mile road network and, in March alone, we repaired 5000 potholes in Devon. We have fixed over 16,000 potholes already in 2009."Reflecting on the bad weather which Exmouth and its surrounding areas endured this winter, Edmund King, president of the AA, said: "We have gone from a salt crisis to a hole crisis."Mr King, who said the fabric of local roads was a major concern, believes, with surfaces crumbling, both drivers and riders were at risk of damaging their vehicles - and even themselves. "I urge all motorists to take care. An innocuous looking puddle may actually be a deep pothole that puts you and your vehicle at risk." Where road problems are concerned, Exmouth and Devon as a whole, however, are not alone.A report published two weeks ago by The Asphalt Alliance, part of the tarmac industry, said the amount of investment needed to bring the condition of the country's roads up to scratch had reached �8.5billion. Mike Linley, chairman of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, said: "Allowing them to deteriorate into such a condition is irresponsible on several levels."Local authority highway departments should not have to bear the brunt of public complaints when they are the ones who have the will and expertise to get our roads fixed.

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