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How do potholes form?

Potholes usually occur when roads freeze and thaw repeatedly, causing the surface to break up. They appear more frequently in late winter and early spring.

How often do you inspect roads?

Depending on the type of road, the local Highway Steward inspects roads on a driven inspection, either monthly, six monthly or yearly.  Alongside our routine inspections the Steward's also carry out inspections when we receive reports from the public.

How do you decide whether a pothole should be repaired or not?

We have set standards for what we can and cannot repair.  All of our policy documents can be found on the Highway Asset Management page of our website.

How do you repair potholes?

Firstly the pothole is inspected by the local Highway Steward to see if it is at a level to which we would repair it.  If the pothole requires a repair, the Steward raises a works order for the pothole to be scheduled. 

Once the pothole has been scheduled, the gang arrive to the site on the scheduled date.  In most instances the pothole is dug out, the edges are sealed to stop water entering and the hole is filled with tarmac. Sometimes you may see a pothole which has just been filled and not cut out.  This is known as a temporary repair.  We carry out temporary repairs when it is too wet or if the gang does not have the correct traffic management to carry out the work safely.  The gang return at a later date to cut, fill and seal the pothole.


Why hasn’t the pothole been repaired?

There is usually a reason why a reported pothole hasn't been repaired:

  • If the pothole has been inspected by a Highway Steward and is not deemed to be a safety defect
  • If there is an underlying problem with the road surface which needs to be investigated
  • If we need to organise traffic management, for example: traffic lights or a temporary road closure so that we can carry out the repairs safely

How do I report a pothole?

To report a pothole, please click here.
When reporting a pothole please be as detailed as you can in your description and let us know:

  • Where is it? we will need the road name, town, nearby landmarks or house numbers
  • Roughly, how big is it? For example is it the size of a football or a dinner plate?
  • Approximately, how deep was the pothole?
  • Please provide your contact details in case we need more information or the Highway Steward has difficulty locating the pothole.


Potholes and Roads report »


Why was a gritter going along the road but not treating it?

There are a several reasons why a gritter might not be treating the road:

  • Gritters follow a detailed route, treating primary roads in a specific area.  For maximum efficiency, the gritter will need to use some intersecting roads to get to the Primary Routes.  It is not feasible to salt these intersecting roads as the gritter would not have enough salt to treat the Primary Routes.

  • The gritter may be empty and returning to the depot after completing its run.

  • When the gritter lorry is using its snow ploughs, salt is not always applied.

When will my road be gritted?

  • We schedule our gritters based on weather forecasts and road surface temperatures.  

  • Our gritters treat the roads to try and stop the frost and ice forming before temperatures fall below freezing.  

  • Where possible we try and plan the gritting operation to occur after the evening peak hours and before the morning peak hours.

  • If your road is not on a primary or secondary gritting route it will not be gritted.  To view our gritting routes please visit our interactive map on our home screen.

A gritter lorry has sprayed my car.  Can this cause damage?

We use small sized rock salt which is extremely light, not very dense and is unlikely to cause damage to vehicles.

Why has one side of the road been gritted but not the side that my house is on?

The gritter only needs to drive along one side of the road as the salt spreading mechanism is designed to deliver the salt across the full width of the road.

Why don’t you grit pavements?

We don't have the resources to routinely grit footpaths or pavements.  We encourage residents to help themselves by clearing snow and ice from public areas near their properties.  For more advice please visit  Clear snow from a road, path or cycleway – GOV.UK


Which roads do you grit?

See a map of gritting routes in East Sussex

When icy conditions are forecast we will grit all primary routes first. We grit 42% of the roads in East Sussex. This is all A and B roads and some C roads.

We give priority to the C roads leading to:

  • Hospitals, fire, ambulance and police stations
  • bus and railway stations
  • most main shopping areas and schools
  • difficult sites (very steep hills etc)

Gritters followed detailed, planned routes. Sometimes a gritter may be moving but not putting down any salt because:

  • it is travelling to the start of the route
  • in order to complete its route, it has to travel along roads which are not part of that route
  • it has finished and is returning to the depot.

Deciding when to grit

We use the latest weather forecasting technology to decide when we need to grit the roads. This can often be different to other forecasts such as those on the television or radio.

We aim to grit the roads before frost and ice are formed by freezing temperatures. Rain or snow can wash salt away, so we try to grit after rain has passed but before the road surface freezes. Where possible, we avoid the morning and evening rush hours.

Gritting decisions are made at least once a day, sometimes more in colder weather.

Why grit the road?

Grit is another name for salt. It helps to keep our roads safe by lowering the temperature at which water freezes, reducing the risk of ice. This process takes time and needs traffic moving over it to start working.

The gritter only needs to drive along one side of the road, as the gritter is designed to spread the salt across the full width of the road.

Why don't you grit pavements?

We don’t have the resources to routinely grit footpaths or pavements. We have to prioritise major roads rather than pavements to prevent the most serious accidents.

We encourage residents to help themselves by clearing snow and ice from public areas near their properties.

For more advice, see:

Grit bins

We currently have over 900 grit bins spread around the county. We are working with residents’ associations, as well as parish, district and borough councils where they may wish to buy their own additional grit bins. For further infomation, see:

Advice for winter driving

If the weather is bad and the roads are icy then do not drive unless it is essential. If you do need to travel, see more advice from the Met Office – Get ready for winter.

Advice for driving through fords

The AA have advice on driving through fords – Crossing a river at a ford.

How do I find out if schools are open during winter weather?

You can find out if schools are open by:


Our Winter fact sheet is available below

 winter_fact_sheet.pdf (524.6 KB)

Gritting and Gritbins report »

You can report a faulty street light by contacting us on 0345 60 80 193 or by using our online reporting system.