Teams have more than doubled the amount of runs compared to last winter to help keep the county on the move. However, a ‘freeze thaw’ process has effected the quality of road surfaces, contributing to double the amount of pothole repairs needed.
This time last year, teams went out 60 times gritting main routes, as well as tackling severe weather routes eight times. This compares to 108 main runs and 20 severe weather routes so far this winter, with 120,000 more kilometres clocked up than the previous winter - the equivalent of travelling from Notts to the Winter Paralympic venue in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and half-way back!
And with twice the amount of runs, more than twice the amount of salt has been needed – more than 22,400 tonnes compared to approximately 11,000 tonnes used last year.
Highways Asset Manager at Via East Midlands, Ian Patchett, which delivers highways services on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, explains the impact this has had on road conditions and why we are seeing more potholes than usual after such a bad winter;.
He said: “Potholes are caused by water seeping into pavement and asphalt cracks. This water expands inside of the pavement when frozen, creating a weak patch. As vehicles drive over this weak patch and further freeze/thaw cycles extend the damage, a pothole begins to form.
“During the gritting process, salt can exacerbate the problem because it keeps water in liquid form at a lower temperature, and while this ensures the road surface does not freeze and become hazardous for road users, it does make the pothole more prevalent.”
Committee Chairman for Committee and Place, Coun John Cottee, said: “Our gritting teams have done a sterling job helping keep the county moving this winter – and remain on 24-hour standby. During the worse of the recent weather, our teams went out 15 times within a week.
“So not only are our gritting crews in high demand this time of year – it is also by far our busiest time for our road repair teams too.
“With the harsh conditions faced this winter, it has meant using double the amount of salt on the roads – 22,000 tonnes worth. This has meant more than 20,000 potholes repairs in the first two months of the year have been required – nearly twice as many as the previous winter spell. This is a national problem of course as well as an issue in Nottinghamshire.
“This is why we are investing more in pothole repairs as we know that it is the number one highways concern for our residents.
“In this financial year, an extra £3.25m is being spent repairing and resurfacing many of the county’s unclassified roads.
“We also have £2m available through our annual national funding to specifically prioritise potholes in most need of repair to help ensure our roads are safe, which is part of our £25.5m budget for highways maintenance.
“We recently announced an additional £20m to target road repairs for the next four years, which includes works to improve our road surfaces. So from Spring onwards, 111 residential roads across the county will get these much-needed repairs.
“With 2,600 miles of roads in our network, we know this additional money won’t solve every problem and we can’t approve every request, but it sets us on the right road to a better, safer highways network.
“We really appreciate the way that hundreds of local residents are playing their part by getting in touch with us directly online or ringing us to give us location details and in some cases, a photo, where they have spotted a pothole.”
Anyone wanting to report a pothole on a Nottinghamshire road, or any other type of road or pavement damage, can do so by going online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk or calling 0300 500 80 800 and if you wish to be kept updated on progress, simply include your email address.