A disgruntled motorist has complained of being “showered in rocks” when driving on the A31.
Paul Edwards, of Mill Court Cottages in Upper Froyle, is blaming Hampshire County Council’s highways department for what he describes as its “wasteful and ineffective” Operation Resilience annual road maintenance programme.
He said: “Every year Hampshire highways commence with their ‘surface dressing’ programme. To date, after over 30 years of driving on Hampshire’s roads, I have yet to see a single example that has lasted more than a few months without complete or partial failure of the surface.
“Every year we have to endure the stone chips and cracks in windscreens and bodywork caused by the loose gravel which is no longer swept up by road sweepers, not to mention the junctions covered in gravel, causing a skid risk for all users – especially the two-wheeled variety.
“Last year Hampshire highways excelled even their own low standards with what can only be termed as a complete bodge of the A31, most notably both stretches between Alton and Froyle.
“While the Alton bypass was actually resurfaced fully, the stretch between Bentley and Alton was simply covered in grit and tar to patch up the rapidly deteriorating substructure of the road.”
Mr Edwards believes that not resurfacing that section is taking its toll on vehicles and is potentially harmful to those not protected by bodywork.
He said: “Within a matter of days there were potholes forming and patches where the dressing was wearing away.
“Now less than a few months after the works were undertaken the surface is literally disintegrating on a daily basis.
“If you look at the surface, especially the stretch between Froyle and Alton in the westbound direction, you will see that a large proportion of the ‘dressing’ has completely worn away.
“Great chunks of road surface are being thrown up by vehicles. Whatever lane, whatever speed and whatever distance you maintain, you will almost undoubtedly be showered in rocks on every journey.
“Goodness knows what it would be like for cyclists and motorcyclists – dangerous at best!”
Cllr Nick Adams-King, executive lead member for universal services, said: "Surface dressing is an important highway maintenance treatment that is particularly effective at restoring skid resistance and extending the life of a road.
"In relation to the A31, our engineers identified several defective areas between Alton and Froyle, which had worsened following the recent cold conditions.
"The specialist surfacing contractor which originally undertook the work has now carried out additional sweeping and monitoring to keep it safe pending remedial works.
"These are planned for the spring, once the weather and temperatures improve. This remedial work will be undertaken at the contractor's expense, and at no cost to the county council.”