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A COUNCIL chief is urging people to join in a Mail campaign to help clear rising numbers of potholes caused by the winter weather.

Hartlepool's roads have been described as being in an "atrocious" state after the latest winter freeze saw a huge rise in the number of potholes.

Road workers at Hartlepool Borough Council were working flat-out all last year to clear potholes caused by last winter's freezing temperatures when the latest cold blast saw the situation get even worse.

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The Mail has relaunched its Plot the Pots campaign and we are urging you to let us know where there are potholes on town roads.

Huge holes in the road can be a danger to motorists and pedestrians and need to be repaired before anyone is hurt.

Now Mike Blair, the council's highways, traffic and transport manager, has urged people to join the campaign and pledged to look at any issues that readers report to the Mail.

Mr Blair said: "I am more than happy to respond to any reports that the Mail receives and their Plot the Pots campaign.

"We will work closely with the Mail to make sure the information is passed on to us and acted upon.

"We are working together to try and get the roads in the town in safe condition for the residents and visitors."

Council chiefs say the roads have been hit worst by the latest winter weather than for several years as temperatures went below -10C.

Potholes are caused when water gets into cracks in the surface of roads, before it freezes and expands, causing them to crumble away when they are driven over.

Council bosses say the ideal situation would see entire roads resurfaced instead of just patching repairs, but it would cost around 20m and the Government does not provide that much funding for road schemes.

The council will spend around 300,000 this year on pothole repairs, which does not include the 1m that is spent in the town on resurfacing complete stretches of roads.

It has a patching squad that works solely on repairing potholes five-days-a-week and bosses say they are constantly working on repairing them.

Mr Blair said he would prefer to be able to resurface whole roads as covering potholes with patches only lasts for around two years, as long as they are not hit by severe temperatures.

Regular surveys are carried out on road surfaces and potholes are categorised on how urgently they need to be repaired.

Potholes that are around an inch and a half deep and 12-inches long are aimed to be repaired within 24 hours. Council bosses aim to repair any other potholes within 28 days, and bosses say in the main they tend to reach their targets.

Mr Blair said people should also contact the council if they see potholes so that any information is passed onto road inspectors through the official channels by calling (01429) 523333.