THE cost to the roads and council tax payers of the wet weather is being measured in thousands of holes and hundreds of thousands of pounds across Dorset.

As the county was battered by gale force winds and slashing rain, more than 2,300 potholes have appeared on the roads in the last three weeks.

Across the Dorset County Council area, 1,800 have been reported since the start of the year.

There were also 394 in Bournemouth and 188 in Poole.

The cost of repairing the crumbling roads could be as much as £135,000 for Dorset County Council, £25,600 for Bournemouth Borough Council and around £12,220 for Borough of Poole.

The average cost to repair a pothole is around £65.

Fears have been raised that as temperatures drop in the coming weeks the problem could get worse as ice causes more damage to already cracked roads.

Andrew Martin, head of the county council’s highways operation said: “Potholes and other road defects happen when water is trapped in the road surface.

“When the water freezes it expands – causing the surface to break up.

“So freezing weather after the recent wet conditions will mean that we expect more potholes and defects to appear.”

Barry Sparkes, streetscene team manager for Borough of Poole, said: “Since January 1 we have had 90 potholes reported to us by residents and an additional 98 have been found by our highways inspectors during their inspections of the borough.

“Those potholes on main roads will be prioritised to ensure that the impact on our road network is minimised.”

He added: “We are aware of issues on Lagland Street which is already scheduled to be resurfaced in February. We are also experiencing problems with Herbert Avenue and are carrying out temporary repairs.”

There are currently 35 teams out fixing Dorset’s roads and Bournemouth aims to repair holes in its roads as soon as possible after being notified of them.