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Potholes, cracks and crevices around Cambridgeshire
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Look East reports on potholes in the county

The icy weather is taking its toll on Cambridgeshire's roads in the form of more large potholes.

As water freezes, it expands, causing minor potholes to increase in size, often quite dramatically.

Damage to roads should be reported to the appropriate authority - usually the county council or the Highways Agency - via their websites.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said: "We will carry out repairs as quickly as possible."

Following a period of heavy snow in February 2009, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire received reports of numerous potholes appearing in roads right across the county.

And it's happened again. But this time, it seems to be even worse.

Pothole on Milton Road, Cambridge
Cracks and crevices are appearing in roads following the cold snap

Many of the county's major roads, including parts of the A14, have been badly affected, and some of Cambridge's busiest routes, such as Newmarket Road and Milton Road have fared particularly badly after December's deep freeze.

While the authorities say they will do their best to fix the roads, it's up to all of us to ensure that they know where the potholes have appeared.

Unless potholes are reported to the relevant body, it's unlikely that the situation will be speedily resolved.

The council says...

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: "The long period of very bad weather will have caused some damage to the road surface and we would urge the public to report any potholes to us in the normal way - by contacting our Cambridgeshire Direct Contact Centre or via the county council's website.

"In addition, staff from our highways depots will be inspecting roads in their area as part of their routine work."

Pothole on Milton Road, Cambridge
Damage caused during the snow becomes obvious as it melts away

The council's website also states: "We encourage the public to report highway defects and faults so that we can check them out and get them fixed as soon as appropriate.

"When we receive a fault report we will visit the site within five working days and assess what repair is required."

Potholes considered to be dangerous are usually repaired within 24 hours of notifying the council. The definition of 'dangerous', however, is not specific and would depend upon location and other factors.

Report a pothole

You can report potholes directly to the county council using the online form on the website.

You can also telephone reports to the Cambridgeshire Direct Contact Centre on 0345 045 5212. Lines are open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday.

And there are a number of websites offering advice on dealing with, and reporting, potholes including potholes.co.uk and fixmystreet.com.

ice-filled pothole on Milton Road, Cambridge
Ice across a pothole can be hazardous for cyclists

Iain Vale, a former RAC Patrolman of the Year, told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire that the potholes across the county are the worst he's seen in his nine years of service.

He advises drivers to be observant and extra vigilant, especially when potholes are obscured by snow or ice. And he reiterates the importance of reporting them to the relevant authority.

"So many of us drive through them, or past them and think 'oh, that's terrible' and then we just assume that someone else will have reported the pothole already."

Claiming for damage

If your vehicle has sustained damage because of a fault in the road, such as a pothole, you may be able to claim for the cost of repairs.

However, there are a few things you must do first including gathering evidence of the damage to both your car, and the road. This could be photographic evidence, including measurements of the pothole - but only if it is safe to do.

You will also need to find out who is responsible for the maintenance of that particular road - it could be either your local council or the Highways Agency, or the road may be privately owned.

"Tyres and wheels are the first things to go when you hit a pothole," Iain Vale told us. "Especially if you've got alloys, because you can actually crack the alloy itself.

Pothole damaged-tyre
Damage caused to a wheel by a pothole in Caxton in 2009

"If you do go over a pothole and you get a big crack, as soon as it's safe to do so, look for any dents or cracks in the wheel itself. If your tyre's actually gone down then you'll probably stop within 10 or 15 feet of the hole because your tyre will go down very quickly.

"Suspension can be damaged as well. If you hear a clunk and your car feels like it's going over to one side, then obviously get it checked out. The last thing we want anyone doing in this new year is driving around in a car that's not safe."

Nominate a pothole

We'd like to know where the worst potholes are in the county.

If you think you've got a 'top hole contender' email us the details and send a photograph if you can (but only if it's safe to take the picture) to: cambridgeshire@bbc.co.uk





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