Government boosts pothole fund after winter damage

10.45 | 26 March | | 3 comments

Photo: _chrisUK via Flickr. Use under Creative Commons.

The Government has announced it is providing councils with a further £100m to help repair potholes; a day after an FOI suggested local authorities have spent more than £43m dealing with pothole-related compensation claims over the past five years.

The addition funding, which follows the recent spell of wintery weather, is expected to help repair almost two million potholes – and help protect the roads from future severe weather.

The funding adds to the £75m already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as £46m announced just before Christmas.

Chris Grayling, transport secretary, said: “People rely on good roads to get to work and to see friends or family.

“We have seen an unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather which has caused damage to our local roads.

“We are giving councils even more funding to help repair their roads so all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes.”

On Sunday (25 March), Cycling UK published the findings of a FOI request, which suggests local authorities have spent at least £43.3m dealing with compensation claims and legal costs due to potholes over the last five years.

This figure is equivalent to 17% of the Government’s five-year, £250m Pothole Action Fund announced in April 2015.

Cycling UK, which runs the pothole reporting webtool and app Fill That Hole, says the FOI responses show that 670 cyclists and 30,893 drivers had their claims accepted.

Motorists received on average £841.26 per successful claim, while cyclists received on average £10,963.15 per successful claim.

Sam Jones, Cycling UK’s senior campaigns officer said: “Cycling UK’s research reveals only a glimpse of pothole Britain’s human cost.

“It’s clear more people are being killed and seriously injured while out cycling each year due to years of persistent under investment in our rotting local road networks.

“The Government should concentrate on fixing the roads we have first before building new ones. Councils need provide enough funding to adopt long-term plans for roads maintenance, rather than pursuing a policy of patching up streets only as they become dangerous.

“With the Government looking to encourage more and safer cycling, then the UK’s road surfaces need to be safe enough for people to cycle on.”

The results of an annual survey, published earlier this month, identified more than 24,400 miles of roads across England and Wales that are in need of ‘essential maintenance’ in the next year.

The 2018 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey also estimates that the ‘one-time catch-up cost’ to get roads in England and Wales back into reasonable condition now stands at £9.31bn.


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    In the local paper this Easter bank holiday there was an article about a brand new machine that with one visit can empty a pothole of loose chippings with an air blast then lay a bonding lining material that will bond the tarmac and then fill with the tarmac. The only thing physically required is to rake the repair somewhat level and then a pummeller will compact it down to street level and all in the one visit. It’s anticipated that one machine can fill about 60 pot holes in one day and whilst the route is made out they also can find other smaller potholes and fill these also so they don’t become worse.

    Everything in one visit except…..the clearing up of all the lose chippings or aggregate or other substances that has been blown out of the hole. This debris is spread over a larger area and can kill if any two wheeled vehicle loses front or rear end grip on this now marble like tarmac. Totally unacceptable I am afraid as any material left laying on the road surface acts like ice and can reduce the slip consistency from an acceptable good one of 0.5 or over to something less than 0.2/3 which is similar to a diesel spillage.


    Bob Craven
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    +2

    On the BBC news this morning 31st March 2018 it showed that in the Netherlands and in India they are repairing pot holes and re laying roads with plastic waste that has been dredged from the oceans. Obviously some changes are made but it must work otherwise how could they do it. Maybe the powers that be may think it worth investigating.


    Bob Craven
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    +1

    How have professionals got it so wrong all these years? We cannot protect our road surfaces from the effects of winter’s severe weather. There is an assumption that weather creates our poor road system and that is just not the case. Yes it makes the situation worse but the real culprit for damaging tarmac is vehicles. Heavy ones more than lighter ones.

    Water cannot destroy good tarmac. If water is to invade the tarmac it needs a gap or crack to get it. Tarmac is a liquid and not like concrete which is a hard substance. It is seen to melt or return to its liquid form in really hot weather so if there are any minor cracks they will fill up and repair themselves. Unfortunately that does not happen in the majority of cases and water does penetrate due to the cracks remaining open.

    That said in general its the action of tyres on the surface and the weight of the vehicles operating upon it that squeezes, push and pulls the upper slightly elastic surface and that causes cracks to be made. These cracks cannot be seen with the naked eye. It is those cracks that then allow the water in and the water permeates through, arround and under the upper surface and starts to break it up from its bonding with the lower layer.

    That is what causes damage or deterioration of our roads surfaces and its been made worse in the last 10 years with heavier goods vehicles. More transit type vans laden with goods and also bigger cars with SUV’s being bigger and heavier on their larger tyres. Water and winter just make the damage more obvious and therefore we blame it but that is not the actual cause.


    Bob Craven
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    +2