North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

North Waltham

A beautiful village in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane in Hampshire

Pothole Repairs- Update from Cabinet Member Highways Hampshire County Council

by | Apr 8, 2023 | Village News

The following is an update on the subject of potholes and road repairs from Cabinet Member Cllr Nick Adams-King

Potholes

Potholes and other road defects remain our biggest issue locally, so please forgive another thread about them.

Background  

As I’ve said before, the weather this winter has been the worst possible combination of prolonged heavy rain and sub-zero temperatures. 

Despite last summer’s drought, we started the winter season with groundwater levels in Hampshire higher than normal. The repeated cycle of rain > freeze> rain > freeze has created the perfect environment for potholes to form, and in addition the prolonged periods of heavy rain have kept groundwater levels exceptionally high resulting in localised surface water flooding, and this is despite our best efforts to keep roadside grips, gullies and drains clear.   

Potholes can form in a number of ways. Aside from general wear and tear, the freeze-thaw action of water when it gets into cracks can rapidly weaken and break open road surfaces, and this is in addition to the hydraulic effect of vehicle tyres constantly going over standing water in cracks and other small surface defects that can also create potholes.  This explains why, even though we have now moved into Spring, potholes are continuing to develop and why some of the temporary fixes are beginning to break down.

Temporary vs Permanent Repairs

Given the high number of potholes that have formed this winter, particularly after each of the spells of freezing weather, HCC’s Highways team took the decision to carry out more emergency temporary infill repairs to keep roads safe and serviceable, understanding that a follow up visit would be needed in some cases to undertake vastly preferable permanent reinstatement.

In the time taken to undertake a permanent fix between 4 and 7 temporary infills can be completed.  

How we are doing

There has been a genuinely unprecedented demand on the highways teams this winter.  The number of potholes filled in the financial year that ended on March 31st is more than ever before:

Over 40,000 of these potholes were filled in the three months from December to February.

Inflation for road materials has been running this year at over 20%, which has eaten into our budgets.  Through our materials recycling depot at Micheldever we have been able to reprocess much of the material removed from the roads when we repair and/or resurface them, reducing our costs to a degree, and the team will be trialling new innovative ways of re-using this recycled material over the course of this coming year.

Officers have also been significantly stretched. The teams who undertake the pothole repairs are also those who drive the gritters, dig out ditches, clear fallen trees and attend emergency incidents.  So, it has been a challenging winter!

Additional Government funding from the budget

The Government has allocated just under £6million to Hampshire for additional pothole repairs.  We had some idea additional funding might be forthcoming so had already ordered greater resources for our highway network.  We anticipate this money being able to fill approximately 39,000 additional potholes over the summer.   

Why don’t the teams fix other potholes nearby when repairing one?


It may appear wasteful, and I recognise it can be irritating, when teams fill one pothole but ignore other defects nearby.  

To be clear, operatives are empowered to attend to other issues if they are able to do so when they come across them. However, the challenge is that the gangs that do the day-to-day repairs normally have a set schedule for a particular day so they may have neither the time, nor the necessary materials, to complete additional repairs that are not already on their list. 

Often the additional work has not been reported, or assessed, prior to the work schedule for the day being established.  

We will be looking at various operating models over the summer, working closely with Milestone, that will hopefully facilitate a smarter, more flexible approach to work scheduling.

Reporting a pothole Report a pothole | Hampshire County Council (hants.gov.uk)

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