THE full extent of the damage caused by flooding is not yet known, according to the environment chief at Hampshire County Council.

Councillor Seán Woodward, executive member for environment, has welcomed the Government’s acknowledgement that more money is needed to help repair damaged roads, and the promise of extra funding.

But he has warned that the full extent of the damage has not been assessed as many parts of Hampshire’s road network are still under water because groundwater levels have not fallen.

He said: “We don’t yet know what Hampshire’s share of the £140million national funding is, but our estimate is that to fix the extensive winter damage on Hampshire’s roads would cost between £25million and £36m.

“We have 5,280 miles of road in Hampshire to take care of – many of which have suffered prolonged flooding, while all of Hampshire has experienced extremely heavy rainfall over many weeks.

“Excessive water seeping into the road surface, followed by freezing overnight temperatures, causes it to break up from underneath, causing damage, and creating defects and potholes which are costly to repair.”

Cllr Woodward added that during the flooding, council teams have worked to keep the roads open by clearing water and fallen trees, and building temporary roads above flooding to keep routes open – as was the case in Litchfield, near Whitchurch.

Cllr Woodward said: “We are now looking at plans for resurfacing the worst affected roads and pavements, drainage works and edge repairs.

“Once the river levels have subsided, we will be using underwater divers to assess the damage to bridge structures and as soon as we can, we will programme in works to the road network.”