A change to pothole repair contracts in England reclassifies smaller holes as non-urgent

But no lessening of standards says Highways Agency

by Mark Appleton   August 8, 2011  

Essex Potholes 3

Under new contracts issued by the Highways Agency to its suppliers, any potholes smaller than 15cm wide or 4cm deep on trunk roads or motorways will not in future be classed as urgent for repair.

The news has been seized upon by some media and also by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, who have suggested that A-road and motorway potholes are set to get bigger and the cost of repairs will eventually be higher.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency, which looks after the strategic road network in England, said the specification of the new contracts remains that the paved area must provide a safe and even surface for all road users.

“Under our new contracts, for the first time, there are mandatory requirements that potholes wider than 15 cm (6 inches) diameter, or deeper than 4cm (1.5 inches) or deeper than the road surface thickness, should always be rectified within 24 hours of verification,” he said.

”The new contracts do not reduce maintenance standards for potholes, they provide best value for public money by ensuring that vital work is done when necessary and that routine maintenance is prioritised on the basis of information about the condition of the network.”

“We are not saying that we are not going to repair potholes under 15cm,” he added.

A series of severe winters has taken a heavy toll on road surfaces in Britain’s trunk road network, maintained by devolved transport bodies in the home nations, as well as its local road networks maintained by local authorities.

In Scotland alone the estimated cost of repairing the road network currently stands at £2.25billion.
 

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“Under our new contracts, for the first time, there are mandatory requirements that potholes wider than 15 cm (6 inches) diameter, or deeper than 4cm (1.5 inches) or deeper than the road surface thickness, should always be rectified within 24 hours of verification,” he said.

Within 24 hours of verification? So, if they don't verify it for 3 years, then they're still within minimum standards?

Given the state of some of the roads around me (plenty of them on this weekends olympic tester), it's daft. It doesn't take something as deep as 1.5" at speed on a road bike to easily trash the front wheel, or cause a tyre to blow, but that's a minimum, but agreed, a car could easily roll over that.

But, the difference is, if I want to avoid that and there's a car rapidly approaching, or overtaking, what do I do?

I know there's a need to save money, and I'm fully supportive of that, but given some of the appalling resurfacing decisions recently that were not necessary (between esher and cobham, between fetcham and stoke d'abernon), there's clearly a disjointed approach to spending on road maintenance.

posted by the-yorkshire-p... [180 posts]
8th August 2011 - 17:39

2 Likes

if money has to be saved when will the stuff you reviewed to fill potholes permanently be used. I was impressed with the write up, a cyclists dream product.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [1018 posts]
8th August 2011 - 18:42

3 Likes

Passed around (thankfully) a chasm on my evening ride last night on Collendean Lane near Horley that has been there so long now plants are beginning to grow in it...

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [414 posts]
9th August 2011 - 14:11

5 Likes

Meh. I don't remember ever riding on Britain's trunk road network. Certainly not the English Highways Agency bits.

posted by Joe Dunckley [9 posts]
9th August 2011 - 21:27

4 Likes

I have not really perfected the road bike bunny hop. Think I'll need to as I ride a very aggressive position with the bars around 8 inches below the seat. Any tips and what about the strain on all carbon forks? Thinking

Felix

Felix's picture

posted by Felix [111 posts]
10th August 2011 - 17:53

3 Likes

There's a simple solution - just ban road bikes and sell only full suspension MTBs then there can be no complaints.

Meanwhile all cycles and motorcycles are at severe risk - complain loudly to your local authority and with a bit of luck you will have a claim if you fall into one

Alg

posted by alg [133 posts]
11th August 2011 - 11:01

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Look on the bright side - it will slow cars down and if we are constantly weaving round potholes they'll leave more room when they pass.....maybe Wink

posted by Tony [87 posts]
11th August 2011 - 12:25

2 Likes

jeez i wonder how they manage to do it in the Alps - there roads are bloody pristine compared to ours and they have proper summers AND harsh winters every year.

dunno about your areas, but D&G is really really bad up here in Scotland !
sigh.

posted by a_to_the_j [85 posts]
11th August 2011 - 14:55

5 Likes

In Gwynedd at present and I have to say of the road I've been on around here over the last fortnight, I have not seen one pothole worthy of the name. I've pedalled about 150 miles in that time and it wasn't until I hit Rhyd-Ddu did I find any. At home in the potteries it's very difficult to ride anywhere without coming across any..

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur, happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr purr purr

posted by Izaak30 [88 posts]
11th August 2011 - 20:21

2 Likes