A TEAM of pothole busters are on the prowl in towns across Hampshire to tackle the pothole plague causing misery to motorists.

Gangs of council workers, dubbed the “pothole busters” have been drafted in to carry out emergency repairs across more than 5,000 miles of roads in the county.

Armed with specialist machinery, some 80 teams of workers – 60 per cent more than normal – are fixing damage caused to the roads after the heaviest rainfall in Hampshire in 250 years.

“Pothole buster” signs are appearing on rural roads across the county as the work gets under way.

The move comes after Hampshire County Council was handed £11.5m from the Government to carry out repairs after weeks of rain and flooding earlier this year.

Council bosses say that money will help – but the long-term cost will be higher and could even reach £63m.

As well as the roads, more than 300 locations across the county are thought to need repairs, while money is also needed for flood and coastal defence work.

Seán Woodward, the council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment, said that repair work is being carefully prioritised.

“We are re-prioritising all repairs to the worst affected roads so that we tackle the most serious defects first,” he said.

“These extra gangs, extra equipment and additional signing have been put in place and work has begun, with efforts concentrated on emergency defects and safety work.”

Council leader Roy Perry said the council would continue its representations to Government for more money.

He said: “Getting £11.5m is a really helpful first step from Government and we’ll be bidding for more resources, bearing in mind we estimate that another £25m, or more, is needed to fix damaged roads alone.

“We are committed to continuing to fund an enhanced maintenance programme to improve the resilience of our 5,000 miles of roads, which, together with resources we are planning to spend in the recent budget, is testimony to the importance we attach to investing in Hampshire.”