Pothole repair

Councillors and officers at Cheshire East are hopeful a new code of practice will mean the end of ‘bodge job’ pothole repairs on major roads, writes Stephen Topping.

Cheshire East Council is set to adopt a new code of practice for road maintenance – called the Well Managed Highway Infrastructure – in line with Government guidelines introduced two years ago.

It is designed to prioritise higher quality repairs on roads which pose the biggest risk, such as major A-roads – while it also strengthens the council’s defence against any third party claims on pothole damage.

At an environment and regeneration overview and scrutiny committee meeting on Monday, Cllr Tony Dean suggested “people will be very, very pleased” if the code leads to the end of temporary repairs which fail to stand the test of time.

He said: “I was out canvassing on Saturday and, not surprisingly, highways was top of the list of people’s issues.

“The one that still seems to be top of the list after all these years is a belief – rightly or wrongly – that when they come out to do a pothole they bodge it. There’s no other word for it.

“They put the stuff in, leave it for a few minutes and go off, then a week later the stuff that has gone into the pothole has come out again.

“From the conversations I have had, people would be prepared to put up with a pothole for a week or two longer if the final repair means it is sorted for five years and not just two weeks.”

Potholes repair image - compensationCEC ran a public consultation on its proposed code of practice in July and August, which found the majority of respondents supported the idea that highways workers should prioritise major roads and take longer to complete repairs to a higher standard.

Paul Traynor, strategic commissioning manager for CEC highways, said: “At the moment our current code of practice requires us to make safe within 24 hours on main A-roads.

“That is an incredibly fast response, so can we plan permanent repairs in 24 hours?

“Most of the time the answer is no, we can’t.

“What we are asking people is should we be taking longer to prioritise proper repairs?

“The overwhelming answer to that in the consultation was yes – people want to see permanent, quality, lasting repairs.

“That is exactly what I want to deliver. The swift repairs to category one defects are the most inefficient area of your highways service currently.

“I want to move away from that into larger, more planned repairs, that will last – and will last the winter, more importantly.”

However, only 93 people from the entire borough responded to the consultation.

Cllr Jill Rhodes, Labour member for Crewe West, raised concerns the findings might not be an accurate reflection of what residents really think.

She said: “It is worrying because if you believe social media, roads are very important to people.”

But Mr Traynor said CEC had advertised the consultation extensively on social media, while making it available in libraries across the borough.

“The bit that is outside of our control is how many people actually choose to respond,” he added.

“All I would say to you is that we have consulted correctly, properly and widely, and if the take-up is 93 responses, then those are a valid 93 responses.”

One Comment

  1. Shouldn’t the potholes be repaired properly in the first place !
    Why do it twice at extra expense ,Guess who pays for this incompetence,usual workmanship get it done quick & sit in the van / lay-by

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