‘Mr Pothole’ backs A27 Time to Fill campaign

From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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NATIONAL roads crusader ‘Mr Pothole’ has backed the Time to Fill campaign after seeing the ‘appalling’ A27 potholes for himself today (Monday, July 13).

Mark Morrell, who created the superhero-like alter ego to battle the Government and councils nationwide, travelled all the way from his Northamptonshire home to assess the state of the Chichester to Havant stretch of the major strategic road.

Mr Pothole, Mark Morrell, supports the Time to Fill campaign SUS-150713-165348001

Mr Pothole, Mark Morrell, supports the Time to Fill campaign SUS-150713-165348001

He has now joined an advanced driving instructor and West Sussex County Council in supporting the joint Observer and The News campaign, calling on Highways England to make urgent repairs.

He said: “I think it’s appalling, really. It’s a major gateway and corridor along the south coast.

“They’re not the deepest of potholes and they’re probably hiding behind the criteria of it’s not more than 40mm deep. However, I’d question about the braking distances because some of those patches are four, five, six-feet-long and similar in width, so in poor weather (when) someone with a caravan or motorbike (is) braking there, it’s going to have a real adverse effect.”

Mr Pothole’s journey took him along the A43, A34 and M3, before joining the A27.

He said the defects in the A27 along the campaign route were the worst he had encountered on his journey.

“The first bit of the A27 was fine as it had been resurfaced but there were 50 to 60 times the amount of defects in that short section that there was in the rest of my journey and the camel signs everywhere (uneven road) gave me the hump,” he said.

The former Transco manager, who has 25 years of experience in road structures and reinstatement, explained that a common trigger for repairs would be when a pothole reaches more than 40mm in depth.

He believed the A27 potholes were shallower but argued the concrete exposed by the potholes was not designed like the road surface to reduce braking distances.

The potential for drivers swerving to avoid potholes was another argument for repairs, he added.

Highways England, which is responsible for the A27, has allocated £4.5 million over the next three years to repair the damaged road surface but the Time to Fill campaign is calling for swifter action.

A Highways spokesman said: “The A27 is a vital route and we want to keep journeys on it safe and reliable. That’s why we’ve allocated more than £4.5 million over the next three years to fully repair this section of the A27.

“We are currently designing the work with a view to carrying it out as soon as possible.

“In the meantime, we will continue to keep the A27 in a safe and serviceable condition, and any defects that pose a threat to safety will continue to be fixed within 24 hours. If anyone has concerns they can call us or email us 24 hours a day.”

Mr Morrell created the Mr Pothole namesake two and a half years ago after starting a small Facebook campaign over the condition of his local roads.

His interest grew and he starred in a Channel Five documentary, going on to appear on national television as the media’s ‘go-to man’ for pothole issues.

Click here for an advanced driving instructor’s view of the A27 potholes.

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