£20m is price of pothole problem in Devon and Cornwall
Councils face a multi-million pound repair bill as the shocking state of the flood-damaged South West road network is revealed in a new report.
Local authorities in the Westcountry are assessing the rising cost to highways of the recent heavy rain, flooding and landslips, with early estimates suggesting the final tally will top £20 million.
This comes as a major survey says the region's crumbling roads contain an average of 5.2 potholes for every mile, which adds up to around 65,000 over 12,500 miles in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.
In Devon, where six bridges were lost in the floods, councillors do not know where they are going to find much of the £13 million needed to shore up the roads in Plymouth and across the county.
In Cornwall, the council has filled in 6,000 potholes in the nine months since the drought broke in April but fresh damage caused in November and December could drain an extra £7 million.
Somerset, meanwhile, also says its bill will run into the millions.
Tim Jones, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, said businesses paying road tax and high fuel prices felt they were being "short-changed".
He said there had been more complaints in the past three months than at any other time he could remember.
"We must not be complacent about this – our roads shape perceptions of how business is conducted," he added.
"With the recent disruption to the trains, people returned to the roads and they are beginning to notice the problem a lot more."