Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Motorists look set to endure more pothole pain on Norfolk’s roads after the county council vowed to continue carrying out temporary repairs despite being advised to fill the holes permanently.
Engineering consultancy WSP has warned councils across England and Wales the traditional approach of carrying out emergency repairs immediately with permanent repairs scheduled later cost 20 times more than carrying out permanent repairs straight away.
However, Graham Plant, cabinet member for planning and transportation, said the council would continue to carry out temporary repairs and said dangerous holes reported to the council would be repaired within 36 hours.
He added: “In an ideal world, we would do that (permanent repairs), but our current policy is to carry out emergency repairs and pit them on a programme of permanent repairs.”
The council has a £1.3m budget to deal with potholes, which is part of an overall £7.2m pot for all highway maintenance work including filling in potholes, patching and edge repairs to the carriageway.
The problem has been caused by a succession of wet summers and harsh winters, including the snow that hit the UK in January, which have led to water seeping under the road surface and freezing or expanding so the top surface starts to split when vehicles roll over.
Nationally, councils spend £90m annually repairing £1.7m potholes and have also spent £50m compensating drivers for damage to cars caused by the holes, mainly to the axle and suspension.
Motorists also spend £2.8bn a year to repair damage caused by the potholes.
Brian Ives, from WSP, said: “The bottom line is that prevention is the best cure when it comes to potholes. “Maintenance budgets are tight but keeping carriageway surfaces sealed against water ingress will minimise the incidence of weather related potholes therefore reducing spending on reactive works as well as the reducing the hidden costs associated with damaged roads.”
To report potholes, visit online.norfolk.gov.uk/highways or phone 0344 8008020.