COUNCIL chiefs say the mild weather so far this winter has seen roads in a much better condition than this time last year.
Hartlepool and east Durham was last winter hit by extreme freezing temperatures reaching as low a -13C, which caused extensive damage to road surfaces.
Each winter roads suffer damage when prolonged sub-zero temperatures that cause surfaces to break up and leave areas littered with potholes.
But this winter there has not yet been a significant period of low temperatures and road chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council say it has left surfaces in a good condition so far.
Mike Blair, highways, traffic and transport manager at the council, said: “I’m quite happy as I don’t think what we have had so far has caused much deterioration.
“When we get a prolonged spell where the roads are under ice for several days, that’s when it starts having an impact.”
Last year the councils pothole repair team was working flat-out to deal with damaged road surfaces and bosses say they are ready to tackle any problems this year should they arise.
In January last year, the Mail launched its Plot the Pots campaign aimed at highlighting roads that needed potholes to be repaired.
More than 100 entries were entered onto the Mail website after council bosses pledged to look at any potholes that are highlighted by readers.
The campaign was backed by the AA which also urged people to join in the drive.
Mr Blair said winter conditions this time around have been mild so far, but the worst of the weather could well arrive at the height of the season in February and early March.
He added: “So far the roads are perfectly fine. We start to see a lot more potholes appearing when it is icy for a prolonged time.
“It has been an average winter up to now, compared to the previous two years which were exceptional.”