Government publishes details of 2017/18 roads funding and an ‘innovative’ potholes trial

12.00 | 13 January 2017 | | 3 comments

Councils across England are today (13 Jan) finding out their share of a £1.2bn Government fund to help them improve roads, cut congestion and improve journey times.

The DfT has also announced details of a new trial which could ‘revolutionise the way potholes are identified and managed’.

Local roads funding for the 2017/18 financial year includes £201m from the new National Productivity Investment Fund, announced in the Autumn Statement, and £70m from the Pothole Action Fund.

£801 million will be shared across local highway authorities in England (outside London) for local roads’ maintenance, and councils can also bid for a share of a £75m fund to repair and maintain local infrastructure such as bridges, street lighting and rural roads.

Andrew Jones, transport minister, said: “Roads play a significant part in everyday life linking people with jobs and businesses with customers, which is why this government is investing record amounts improving and maintaining highways across the country to help motorists.

“The funding we have allocated today is focused on relieving congestion and providing important upgrades to ensure our roads are fit for the future – helping to build an economy that works for everyone.”

In the potholes trial, a ‘pothole-spotter system’ – mounted to refuse collection vehicles and comprising high-definition cameras, integrated navigation system and intelligent software – will be deployed to identify road surface problems before they become potholes.The trail is being carried out by the DfT in partnership with Thurrock and York councils.

Photo: _chrisUK via Flickr. Use under Creative Commons.

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    It has been said that winter and rain and ice contribute to the breaking up of the road surfaces that cause the pot hole in the first place. That is not always the truth. It’s also caused by heavier goods vehicles and more of them.

    We must remember that unlike concrete, tarmac is viscous and liquid in a hot state and that at lower, more road normal temperature it’s just less so. Unfortunately with the increase in bigger and heavier heavy goods vehicle they accelerate and brake and move the tarmac under the wheel. This breaks the tarmac surface and lets in water and that freezes, breaking the surface and sub structure even more. Without something breaking the surface of the tarmac there would be no degradation and no pot holes.

    Whilst we will now have bin lorries with cameras scouring our roads for pot holes they may be able to pick up on the large amounts of hydraulic fluids that those vehicle in particular leak all over the road surface and all the time. It’s like riding on diesel fluid and extremely dangerous. More dangerous than the pot hole it’s looking for.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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    To be fair to my local authority (Northampton) the potholes are being repaired slowly. Certainly the ones I have repeated have been dealt with and I hope that others are experiencing the same as me. Patching the potholes are not the way to deal with the problem though as other cracks etc appear next to the ones that get fixed. Resurfacing the whole width or length of the road may be expensive but has to be better than constantly visiting the same road over and over.

    David Thomas
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    Quite innovative. I hope that it works but doubt that anything will improve. There are already many pot holes and other blighted areas of danger to the general public reported by the general public that do not appear to be seen to as the LA or Highways Authority pass many on to other bodies ie water auth etc. and they take ages to do anything about it. That is after someone from the council/ authority has been round to inspect it and has decided that it justifies an intervention. If it does not then again nothing gets done until it becomes more dangerous than it currently is. They will not repair what does not appear to need to be repaired at that time even though early interventions may save monies. Even though a stitch in time may save lives.

    Bob Craven Lancs
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