‘Tell us about your potholes’ message from county council

Councillor John Cottee and Highways Manager Ian Patchett
Councillor John Cottee and Highways Manager Ian Patchett

“Report your potholes”, that is the message from highway bosses after it was revealed some roads are only checked once a year.

Via East Midlands, which manages Nottinghamshire’s 4,100 kilometres of roads on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, says it can only check some roads, with low numbers of houses, once a year.

But a Via spokesman said most main roads are checked every month.

The council has pledged to invest an extra £20 million in roads in the next financial year, mainly targeting residential roads..

The work will be carried out by Via which was called out on 20,000 jobs in January involving potholes – almost double the amount recorded across January and February last year.

The council and Via are now asking residents to report potholes – which they said can “appear overnight”.

Councillor John Cottee, council community and place committee chairman, said the authority’s top priority is to ensure the public is safe.

He says: “The council wants to make sure the highways are safe.

“Potholes do appear overnight, so we encourage the public to report them to us, because we will come out to that pothole, assess it and repair it the best we can to make it safe.

“We will do that instantly.

“The downside is it is the worst winter for five years and when it snows it is a struggle to repair potholes, but we get out as soon as possible.

“There can’t be anything worse than seeing a pothole outside of your house – I do understand the public frustration.

“We would rather have two to three reports per pothole than one.”

£3.25m has been granted to be spent over the next year on highways out of the £20m investment.

Ian Patchett, Via highways asset manager, said: “Potholes can appear overnight and everyone thinks someone has reported them.

“Some roads are only safety inspected once a year.”

Coun Cottee also said if a pothole is not fixed within 24 hours after it is reported, the council can be held liable for damage.

He said: “We are legally required 24 hours before we are held liable.

“With the investment, we will be in a better place next year than we are today with the quality of the roads.

“We are looking into using some of the money to put in crossings outside schools which might want crossings, but they might not meet the current criteria.”

The criteria for a pothole to be considered a safety issue is a depth of 40mm in the road surface or 20mm deep in a footway.

Fixing a pothole temporarily can be done in the snow and it takes under a minute for the highways team to put in place.

Mr Patchett said this allows the highways team to “jump off to do the next one”.

He said: “Our primary function is the safety of highways.

“Sometimes that means a temporary fill before anyone damaged can happen to cars or people.”

Anyone wanting to report a pothole on a Nottinghamshire road or any type of road or pavement damage, can do so by going online at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk or call 0300 500 8080.

In direct response to public concerns, an extra £20m has been be added to Nottinghamshire County Council’s highways capital programme from 2018/19 to 2021/22, bringing the council’s capital roads investment up to £142m over the period – its highest level in more than a decade.

The extra money for roads is part of the 2018/19 budget.

The highways investment will be focused on roads assessed as being likely to deteriorate in the next few years on a ‘right repair at the right time’ basis, with a view to saving money that would have been required for repairs in the longer term.

Roads in residential areas, some of which have been neglected for many years, will be targeted. This could include schemes to improve the road surface and new safety features where they are required such as pedestrian crossings and interactive speed signs on routes used every day by people to get to and from home.

Councillor Richard Jackson, council finance and major contracts management committee chairman, said: “We’ve listened to local people’s priorities and I’m proud to announce that we’re investing an additional £20m in the county’s highways network over the next four years.

“Many of the roads we will be targeting will have not seen any meaningful work to them in years. Residential roads – the roads we all use every day to get to and from home – will be specifically targeted.

“With 2,600 miles of roads in our network, we know this money won’t solve every problem. But it is a good start and sets us in the right direction when it comes to getting the quality, safer road network for Nottinghamshire we all want.”