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Poor weather leads to pothole spike on Devon’s roads

Wednesday, 3 April 2024 16:14

By Bradley Gerrard, local democracy reporter

Pothole generic (Image courtesy: Brad Hardware)

Over 40,000 recorded in 10 months

Harsh weather conditions mean it’s taken just 10 months for more potholes to be recorded across Devon’s roads than the whole of the last financial year.

A total of 40,250 potholes were recorded across the county council area between April last year and the end of January this year.  For the 12 months to March 2023, there were 39,813 such hazards.

And February’s data showed another 4,010, pushing the current financial year’s total higher still with figures for March still yet to be confirmed.

Devon County Council, which is responsible for the county’s roughly 8,000 miles of roads, said the “early and harsh freeze/thaw cycles” experienced during the 2022/23 winter continued to cause problems into the summer.

“In addition to the winter weather, there has been an unprecedented number of storm events experienced so far this autumn and winter,” said Meg Booth, director of climate change, environment and transport.

She claims the council is speeding up ‘reactive patching’ and, together with managing their contractors’ workloads, that means it “is managing to contain the overall number of pothole defects across the network awaiting repair.”

The work had been helped by £1.5 million of funding from central government. Ms Booth says the council hopes to use a new system it has trialled for repairing potholes more widely.

“In the summer/autumn of 2023, the service conducted a comprehensive trial of a road surface repair system called Elastomac, which was demonstrated to councillors in May last year,” Ms Booth said.

“The system uses a flowable mastic asphalt which incorporates up to 70-80 per cent recycled materials and can be installed much more quickly than traditional patching techniques and with less disruption to the travelling public.

“This new solution will be added to the wider toolkit again from the spring through to autumn this year.”

The so-called Dragon Patchers, which are repair trucks with a blowtorch-type attachment stretching from the bumper, have been out on more than 500 shifts so far this financial year.
 

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