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Welcome to pot-hell: Twelve cars are left stranded in one night after hitting the SAME pothole on single stretch of road – in fourth crater incident of its kind in two years


A staggering 12 cars were left stranded on one night after hitting the same pothole on a single stretch of road dubbed ‘pot-hell’ by furious locals, MailOnline can exclusively reveal. 

Multiple cars saw their tyres burst after striking the crater on Frant Road, near Crowborough, East Sussex on Valentine’s Day.

It was the fourth time in two years that cars have been left stranded on this stretch of road after hitting severe potholes.

In November 2022, 15 vehicles broke down on Bunny Lane after striking a crater. The next month, three more vehicles were forced to park up on the same 1.2 mile thoroughfare when they suffered damage at the hands of a depression in the tarmac. And last January, eight cars were left stranded after buckling their wheels on a hole on the same lane.

Locals have described the stretch – used as a thoroughfare between Crowborough and Tunbridge Wells, Kent – as ‘pot-hell’.

Cleaner Jane Grace, 47, was one of the motorists whose tyre was damaged after hitting the hole on Frant Road last week. The mother-of-two raged: ‘When I got out of the car I looked down the road and there were four other cars stopped with their hazards on.

‘I tried to flag down other drivers to warn them but it was too dark for them to see me, so more people just kept hitting the same hole. Luckily my husband was three or four cars behind me, so he stopped and helped me to put the spare wheel on. By the time we left there were about 10 people pulled up with their hazards on and two police cars.

‘I think it’s got to be one of the worst stretches in the country for potholes. It’s ‘pot-hell’!’

A total of 12 cars were left stranded after they all hit the same pothole

A total of 12 cars were left stranded after they all hit the same pothole

Pictured: The cavity that did all the damage to 12 cars in one night

Pictured: The cavity that did all the damage to 12 cars in one night

 

The drivers were left with punctured tyres after their cars struck the pothole

Spare wheels had to be put on mamy of the cars so the drivers could get home

The drivers were left with punctured tyres after their cars struck the pothole

This map shows Frant Road, where 12 cars were stranded after striking a single pothole

This map shows Frant Road, where 12 cars were stranded after striking a single pothole

Is there a massive pothole near you? Email: dan.grennan@mailonline.co.uk

Police directed traffic while East Sussex Highways attended to carry out interim repairs on the cavity between the junctions of Bunny Lane and Tangier Lane. No collisions or injuries were reported. 

Jane hit out at East Sussex County Council for carrying out ‘sub-standard’ repairs in the area.

She said: ‘The holes keep appearing again and again because the repairs are sub-standard.

‘They just do surface repairs but as soon as it rains the water gets underneath them and it cracks up again.

‘So unless they resurface the entire road it’s just going to continue being a nightmare.

‘The roads around here are shocking. I drive into Kent a lot and you can always tell when you’re back in Sussex because the roads are so much worse.’

Jutta Wrobel, 62, was faced with a £150 repair bill after damaging the tyre on her Fiat 500 when she hit the same hole on February 14.

The furniture artist, who lives in Wadhurst, East Sussex, watched nine cars strike the three-and-a-half foot long crater within half an hour.

She said: ‘During rush hour, at approximately 5.45pm, I hit a huge pothole – three-and-a-half feet long and at least one foot wide and 20cm deep in parts – and sustained a blow out on my front passenger side tyre.

The bottle of water gives a perspective on the depth of the pothole which caused major damage in 2023

The bottle of water gives a perspective on the depth of the pothole which caused major damage in 2023 

 

The incident is the fourth time in two years that multiple cars have been left stranded on this stretch of road after hitting severe potholes. Pictured: The road in 2023

The incident is the fourth time in two years that multiple cars have been left stranded on this stretch of road after hitting severe potholes. Pictured: The road in 2023

‘I limped along slowly to get my car off the road, as that stretch opposite the Bunny Lane turning is extremely dangerous, without poor weather conditions and potholes to make it even more hazardous! 

‘In a surreal nightmare, one car after another crashed down the hole and pulled over to the side of the road with their hazard lights on.

‘By the time I had got up level with the pothole, having spoken to the people now stranded at the side of the road, there were nine of us. Nine cars down the hole in the space of maybe 20 to 30 minutes. All damaged and unable to continue.’

The 62-year-old said several motorists tried to call East Sussex Highway’s emergency hotline but were unable to get through.

She added: ‘Someone called the police at around 6pm. Several of us tried to call the East Sussex Highways 24\7 Emergency hotline for reporting dangerous hazards in the road, to be met with a recorded message along the lines of ‘calls to this number are not being answered at the moment.’

‘In the absence of any police and no response from East Sussex Highways, we could only watch in dismay as more people plunged into the pothole.

‘The police finally arrived at 8.30pm or thereabouts – two-and-a-half hours after being called – and cordoned off the pothole, preventing further carnage.’

Andrew Wilson, Liberal Democrat District Councillor for the Crowborough South East ward on Wealden District Council, described the roads in the area as being worse than those in the Ivory Coast.

He said: ‘Personally, I think the roads in Crowborough look like they have been subjected to a sustained artillery strike.

‘In the course of my job I have been lucky enough to travel to countries all over the world and I can honestly say the roads in the Ivory Coast are better than the roads around East Sussex.

‘The situation is really, really bad.

‘There is a new pothole somewhere else along Bunny Lane every single year. I don’t understand how one relatively small, non-core route can be so chronically abysmal.

‘If you’ve got a hole that’s crippling 12 cars, then that is clearly an issue and should be a wakeup call for East Sussex County Council to do major work to stop it happening again.

‘It’s a good example of a wider problem.’

Bunny Lane and Frant Road are around half-a-mile from Tunbridge Wells, where Cllr Wilson claims the road surfaces are ‘materially better’.

He said: ‘I am very frustrated with the state of the infrastructure in East Sussex.

The cars stranded on the side of the road as drivers try to put on spare wheels

The cars stranded on the side of the road as drivers try to put on spare wheels

Another pothole on the same stretch of road from 2023

Another pothole on the same stretch of road from 2023 

It is the fourth time in two years that multiple cars have been left stranded on this stretch of road. Pictured: a a cavity from 2023

It is the fourth time in two years that multiple cars have been left stranded on this stretch of road. Pictured: a a cavity from 2023

‘If you drive over the Kent border, the roads get materially better. In theory, if Bunny Lane was just a few hundred metres up the road, it would probably not be in the state it’s in.

‘The roads are so bad that the amount of money to fix them properly would probably be in the hundreds of millions of pounds.

‘But short of a lot of money being injected into repairs, I don’t see how the problem will get any better.

‘And with the amount of building and developments in and around Wealden, the road usage will just keep going up and making the situation worse.

‘It has been very, very frustrating on a district level because there is a limited amount, we can do about it. We try to apply as much pressure as we can on the county council, but we are unfortunately beholden to the budget restrictions within East Sussex and how they use that money.’

Councillor Sarah Glynn-Ives, Green Party District Councillor for the Frant and Wadhurst ward, is concerned potholes will cause a serious accident in the area.

She said: ‘It’s terrifying to think one car after another hit that one hole and broke down. It’s so dangerous. They are lucky they didn’t all crash into each other. The fact so many people were affected is shocking.

‘There is a real risk to everybody using the roads, particularly cyclists and motorcyclists. And the police and NHS are having to deal with the fall-out.

‘I think Bunny Lane must be the only road where this has happened, on this scale, so many times. It beggars belief.

‘But we’ve been putting up with it for years now. We know the state of the roads, and that the work is inadequate, but still nothing seems to be improving.

‘My hands are tied – I can ask County over and over, but the wheels move very slowly. It always comes down to funding.’

East Sussex Highways said interim repairs have been carried out on the pothole on Frant Road, and a permanent repair is scheduled to be completed within 28 days.

A spokesperson said: ‘We were made aware of a pothole on Frant Road, between the junctions of Tangier Lane and Bunny Lane, on Wednesday (February 14) evening.

‘Interim repairs were carried out that evening, and a permanent repair is scheduled to be completed within 28 days.’

MailOnline has contacted East Sussex Council and Sussex Police for further information. 

Is there a massive pothole near you? Email: dan.grennan@mailonline.co.uk



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