pothole repair

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25 April 2024

The pot-holed road most travelled

The Government offers a funding boost for road repairs

Lucy England

Is the pothole robot required here?:)
Early in April the Government promised a wodge of cash to go towards fixing up our atrocious roads. £8.3 billion has been committed to this very much needed project (much needed as anyone who uses our roads will know full well).
The funds have been recovered from the HS2 project which was finally abandoned, and this is the first instalment of cash going into this important, nay essential and long overdue road repair project.
The Government have delivered £150 million so far since November to get this programme going. Plans for the full amount have been consolidated and 102 authorities out of the 119 have presented plans outlining the work they are intending to carry out as part of this initiative.
Councils are expected to produce a two year plan illustrating the repairs they intend to make which can initially be seen by the public and followed up with quarterly details about what they have actually done.
The Government claims that eventually the total £29.4 billion, saved from the northern and Midlands leg of HS2, will be invested in transport across the respective regions and the £6.5 billion from the Euston approach which never happened will be distributed across other UK regions.
In the West and East Midlands the pledges are large – 600,000 square meters of road repairs for the West Midlands and 350,000 for the East Midlands.
The government says that in the end all £29.4 billion from the northern and Midlands HS2 project will go back into funding transport.
The Government itself however says that the funding is only enough to resurface 5000 miles of local roads over 11 years which is actually only 2.7% of the network.
The asphalt industry claims that over 13,000 miles of roads have less than five years of life left in them. Clearly this means that there won’t be enough money to solve the problem. What is actually needed is for engineers and road crews to get ahead of the issue and fix roads before they get into disrepair, using preventative measures before the problem has got out of hand.
The RAC was called out to almost 8,000 breakdowns in the first quarter of 2024 because of bad road surfaces. 53% were in the last three months of 2023 which is a clear illustration that the pothole situation has got out of control.
The one positive bit of news is that drivers may have already got through the worst part of the year for pothole creation, the winter months. Because we have had a mild winter it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been with less freeze thaw action than usual and therefore fewer new potholes forming. There has been a 22% drop in the number of pothole related call outs for the RAC between 2023 and 2024, but they think the lower number of frosty days, which are a causal factor in creating new potholes, could be the real cause of this, rather than anything else, despite the fact that it has rained enough for Noah to start on his Ark.
In fact the RAC pothole index shows that drivers are now twice as likely to experience pothole damage to shocks, suspension or wheels, due to the huge number of potholes .
The cash doled out to local councils to repair the roads is only enough to resurface 5,000 miles of roads, that’s just under 3% of English local roads.
For drivers who have had enough there is now a free mobile app called Stan which they can download. It automatically detects road defects via the smartphone camera. The data from the app is helping build the UK’s first national map of road surface issues. It may eventually help local authorities to find problems on their roads so that they can fix them quickly before the problem escalates.
How do you feel about this road fixing initiative? Will it solve all the problems out there on our road network? Let us know you thoughts on facebook or email us at [email protected].

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