IT was the wettest winter for 100 years – and it has left Hampshire’s roads riddled with thousands of potholes.

Now a massive operation to repair the worst of the damage is getting under way, with highway chiefs vowing on concentrate on roads that pose the greatest danger to public safety.

Hampshire’s 5,280-mile highway network is thought to include at least 300 sites that need major work.

Repairs will cost at least £36m – and the figure is expected to rise as water levels subside and engineers are able to inspect roads they have previously been unable to reach.

“Pothole Buster” signs will be springing up on routes across the county as the huge repair project swings into action.

About 80 gangs of workers, 60 per cent more than normal, will be deploying extra equipment including “jetpatcher” machines capable of making speedy and effective repairs to flood-hit areas.

Warning signs will be deployed in a bid to encourage drivers to slow down when approaching damaged sections of road that have yet to be repaired.

Many of the worst potholes are thought to be in the Romsey and Winchester areas, which were particularly hard hit by the floods. Several roads in Southampton were also left under several inches of water.

Cllr Sean Woodward, the county council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment, said the worst roads would be repaired first.

He added: “As well as the 300 locations where extensive structural work is needed we also expect there will be a number of sites where some form of drainage improvements will be needed to avoid future flooding of roads.”