Crews working hard to keep winter potholes under control

News / Sun 7th Mar 2021 at 03:42pm

ESSEX Highways is working hard to repair potholes following a winter which has been particularly tough on county roads. 

A combination of prolonged wet spells with heavy rain and flooding, followed by frosts, snow and extreme cold down to minus 10C, has caused more potholes to form on Essex roads as water got under road surfaces, froze, then broke up the surface. 

Repeats of this cycle, plus the regular movement of heavy traffic, can worsen potholes quickly. This winter in Essex has been the coldest for 10 years and Essex Highways is aware of a significant increase in the number of potholes on our roads as a result.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, said: “Despite the weather and Covid-19 pandemic limiting our ability to respond, our hard-working crews still fixed 589 potholes in December and 815 in January, including all the extra potholes logged to be fixed with extra investment by my fellow Essex County councillors. 

“Safety is critical – we assess all potholes identified and the most safety-critical are dealt with first. Sometimes a pothole is assessed as needing an urgent fix. 

“In those cases we can’t wait to arrange to do a permanent repair – so instead we fill the hole with cold asphalt. This is a “make-safe” repair to keep the public safe. We will then record it for later further action.”

Councillor Bentley added: “Make-safe repairs are just what it says on the tin. They can be done quickly so that the road doesn’t have to be closed for long and they are usually filled higher than the surface and are then worn in by traffic. 

“They don’t look pretty and at this time of year may only last a few weeks, particularly if the weather remains adverse and traffic is heavy, but they are a vital technique, used all over the UK. If we didn’t have this tactic, the annual pothole repair budget would be bust in a few winter weeks! 

“As the extremes of winter hopefully recede, our crews will accelerate the battle to catch up with permanent repairs as we do every year. 

“We have extra money from the Government’s pothole fund and now that the County Council budget has been approved we are already planning resurfacing whole sections of roads as the weather improves.”

Read all about how we inspect, assess and prioritise potholes for repair at http://bit.ly/2TKoBvZ

All road surfacing information, including map, at www.essex.gov.uk/surfacing

Numbers of potholes fixed each month in each district are in our Highways Highlights online newsletters at http://bit.ly/2S0iGCw

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