Pot Holes

Pot-hole; a depression or hollow in the road surface, a structural failure.

Wikipedia adds: A pothole is caused by a failure in asphalt due to the presence of water in the underlying soil structure and the presence of traffic passing over the affected area. Introduction of water to the underlying soil structure first weakens the supporting soil. Traffic then fatigues and breaks the poorly supported asphalt surface in the affected area. Continued traffic action ejects both asphalt and the underlying soil material to create a hole in the pavement. click here for the article.

08/09/2017 – Pot-hole numbers being reported on main roads and motorways across Britain increased between 2017 and 2018: In Scotland the number reported rose by a whopping 52%, up to 15,524 England saw a 46% year-on-year increase, to 16,645 (Which – ‘ Three Reasons You Should Report Potholes).

07/09/2019 – Potholes at record levels causing breakdowns costing drivers £1,000 on average (Mirror). England has seen a record 46 per cent rise in sinking roads.

What damage are potholes causing that is not immediately noticeable and results in breakdown minutes, hours or days later – possibly on a ‘smart motorway’ without immediate refuge i.e. where the hard-shoulder has been removed?

The inference is that a pothole occurs due to a ‘failure’; so was the road constructed correctly, were the materials or installation fit for purpose?

All councils allow you to report potholes via their websites. Likely they will require completion of a form, however, click here for further information that may be of assistance.  YourMoney, has also provided information/assistance 26/01/2018click here

You may wish to adopt the approach highlighted byMr Pothole‘.

Also, consider whether you need to be seeking information from the Council about their maintenance and inspection schedules.  It is unlikely the Council, TFL or Highways England will physically maintain the roads themselves.  It is often the case that this work is sub-contracted.  This can make obtaining some information difficult; whilst the Public Authority (Council or Highways England) are subject the Freedom of Information Act, the private contractor is not – the legislation is diluted.

However, a way to seek information is by use of the Freedom of Information Act and to assist you, register at WhatDoTheyKnow.com (click here) and use their facility make and monitor a request.  For example:

Dear (insert) Council,

I am writing about highway maintenance on (location) specifically between (location) and (location). I wish to know: –

  1. The details of inspections within the last 12 months with dates, findings, and repairs made.
  2. Details of claims made and awarded during this period.
  3. The time delay between potholes being reported and repaired in each case.
  4. The criteria used in classifying road defects and deciding on remedial actions.
  5. How inspections are made.
  6. Future plans for maintenance or improvements to this stretch of road.

Yours faithfully,

With budgets being cut, with new process coming into force, such as zero-carriageway-crossing, will the contractor undertake theircontracted duties with vigour, at all? For example, we learned that debris clearance of central reservations had been affected click here for more information. Concerns are raised in a post:click here.

27/01/2019 – Is our pothole problem getting worse?

Main roads and motorways in England, Scotland and Wales are maintained by Highways England, Transport Scotland and the Welsh Government respectively. Councils are responsible for the upkeep of local, usually more minor roads

But Highways England, as an example, have delegated the responsibility to contractors who are paid monthly by way of ‘lump-sum’ to address them.  What is the Public Authority doing to ensure their contractors are complying with this aspect of the contract?

12/11/2018Potholes blamed for AA profit decline

The AA has recently reported that during the first 6 months of 2018, the number of breakdowns ‘increased by 8% to 1.9m and to meet demand, the company had to call on third-party patrols’. On this alarming statistic, AA boss, Simon Breakwell commented: “The severe weather caused a ‘pothole epidemic’ which led to breakdown callouts hitting a 15 year high”. This unpredicted rise in callouts resulted in the AA’s pre-tax profits declining by 65% to £28 million.

11/05/2018 – Potholes costing drivers and insurers ‘£1m a month’ in car repair bills:

The AA said it had seen more pothole-related claims during 2018 so far than for the whole of 2017. It described the number of potholes as an “epidemic” and a “national embarrassment”.

It is reported that a Highways England spokeswoman said: “We know that drivers want and deserve good quality, safe roads and since 2015 when Highways England was created, we have replaced more than 4,400 miles of road surface.  Safety is at the centre of everything we do, which is why we set stringent standards for pothole repairs and also regularly inspect our roads to help reduce the potential for potholes.”

A Department for Transport spokesman apparently said the government was “investing a record £23 billion on our roads to improve journeys. We have listened to the concerns of road users and are already providing councils in England with over £6 billion to help improve the condition of our local highways. This funding includes a record £296 million through the Pothole Action Fund – enough to fix around six million potholes.”

It appears the problem is acknowledged, known but whilst money is thrown at the issue, the holes remain.  Source – BT.com.

What agreements did Highways England and Councils secure with their repair contractors and are they being complied with?

28/04/2018 – Lethal potholes are being left for months on British motorways, damaging cars and endangering the lives of motorists. Highways England is responsible for looking after England’s motorways and major A-roads. It receives around £3billion a year from the Treasury and employs an army of 4,000 staff. Source – Daily Mail.

16/02/2017: A Dartford man says he is seeking compensation after he drove over a pothole on the Ebbsfleet turn onto the A2 Watling Street, in Dartford which ripped his tyre requiring the car to be removed for repair. Highways England is responsible for this section of road apparently said there’s a possibility they could not pay for it.