Wednesday, 15 January 2020

National Pothole Day

National Pothole Day

January 15th is National Pothole Day, a tongue in cheek celebration designed to raise awareness of the UK's ever growing pothole problem.

How do potholes form?

Potholes aren't just an eyesore either. They wreck havoc on vehicle suspension and can even lead to accidents - and worse. Between 2007 and 2016, 22 cyclists died and another 368 were injured because of the poor condition of roads. Confused.com put together some stats on the financial impact of potholes which make for some rather sobering reading:

pothole financial impact

The real answer to potholes, frankly, is a reduction in road traffic. As that seems unlikely any time soon, the next best thing is a change in road construction. Plastic tar in place of asphalt, for example, has shown good results in preventing pothole formation. But, because nothing is that simple, it has also been proven to leach, especially during heavy rainfall. More trials are needed on that front!

In the meantime, don't just ignore the problem. If you see a pothole, report it the highway authority. This Is Money found that Torfaen was one of the best councils when it came to filling reported potholes last years, something I can certainly attest to as someone who regularly reports them.

All you need to do is email the pothole location to calltorfaen@torfaen.gov.uk or use the online form / mobile app, then a highways officer will go out and investigate the state of the road. If they decide to fill the hole it will be sprayed with paint to mark it up ready for work. Once that's done you can expect it to be filled within ten working days. If they are regularly out to do patch jobs, the road will be bumped up the priority list for resurfacing, so reporting the potholes really is a win-win for local residents.

There are guidelines in place to help determine whether or not to fill, based on the width and depth of the hole, but officers can use their own discretion too. E.g. Two weeks ago I reported a large pothole on my local school route, but when the officer went out they also decided to fill two smaller ones nearby because the heavy use of the road means it was only a matter of time before they met the minimum size requirements.



On the negative side, there is one caveat to pothole reporting: your highway authority will only patch roads they are responsible for. Many of the UK's worst roads are actually unadopted, meaning their upkeep is the responsibility of the residents who live along it. As you're looking at £10k+ to resurface a small stretch of private road, it's not really surprising they're a mess. My advice, sadly, is more on prevention when it comes to unadopted roads - make sure you read all the small print when purchasing a house!



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