Potholes 'to cost millions' to repair across the UK

Potholes are caused when water gets into tarmac on roads and freezes

Repair teams are struggling to fix hundreds of potholes left by the recent freezing weather.

Experts predict it'll cost millions to repair the damage and it is feared many cars will end up with damaged tyres or steering.

For Lee and Aaron, who are part of a team that fixes potholes, it's going to be a busy day.

The first stop is a bus route in Portslade near Hove, where a small crack has appeared in the road.

"We've got a half metre hole in the middle of the road so it needs to be done as an emergency," said Lee.

"We're going to clear the pothole out and put in temporary gear just to make it safe."

Across the country councils are trying to fill potholes that have appeared after the extreme weather.

In the Brighton and Hove area the team have been fixing 20 a day.

Freezing water

Potholes are caused when melted water gets into the tarmac on the roads and freezes.

The frozen water creates a crack that expands.

The pressure of cars and buses travelling on the weak surface then causes it to cave in.

"They're popping up so much because of the weather," said Lee. "Obviously with the thaw you get a lot of running water and it's getting underneath the road."

Fixing a pothole is a difficult task and depends on the size of the hole.

Small potholes can be filled with tarmac, but larger ones need to be drilled out and then refilled.

The next stop for the team is a larger dip in the road which is surrounded by cracks in the tarmac.

For this the team spends 30 minutes drilling into the ground and refilling the area to smooth over the surface.

"We need to take our time and make sure it's done properly," said Lee.

Car damage

The team is working to make sure that motorists and pedestrians do not have any accidents on the uneven surface.

The cracks can cause damage to car tyres, suspension and they can also scratch alloys or bumpers.

Ice truck
The cold weather in January has caused thousands of potholes to form

Sam, 22, knocked out his steering when he went over a large pothole, which cost him more than £180 to fix.

"Obviously it cost a couple of hundred quid to get it sorted out. It was a bit annoying really," he said.

Highway maintenance manager Stuart Wilson says the council has put on extra resources to deal with the problem.

"The last couple of weeks since we had the snow and the ice we've spent about £15,000 on pothole repairs alone," he said.

More than 65 potholes have been reported by the public and highway inspectors in the last three weeks in Brighton and Hove.

However, as the final snow melts, even more have been appearing.

Pothole season

Motoring group the AA is calling for more government money to tackle the problem.

Last year more than 900,000 potholes were repaired according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

Matt scratched his bumper driving along a street. He said: "I had nowhere to go, I was forced into the pothole as it was a narrow street and another car was coming towards me.

"I just knew I'd done damage to my car straight away and my car is my pride and joy. I now avoid potholes like the plague."

Lee advises drivers to take extra care and record cracks in the road. "There's going to be a few more," he said.

"The best thing you can do is report it to the council and contact your highways department - especially if they're dangerous."