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Dangerous potholes fixed ‘immediately’ under new approach

3119227 rac pothole

Analysis by the RAC Foundation has shown that local highway authorities across the country are increasingly adopting a risk-based approach to fixing road defects. 

A report from the RAC Foundation shows that some councils are using this approach to assess and target road repairs so they can repair damage putting road users at most risk almost immediately.

Assessments take into account the width and depth of a pothole, the type of road it is on, the volume of traffic and the mix of road users. 

Data obtained by the RAC Foundation under the Freedom of Information Act shows that 75% of local authorities – 142 councils had moved to a risk-based approach by Autumn 2018. Another l 15 said they were about to move to the new system or were reviewing their existing practices. 

But only only 6% of local authorities use risk based analysis to its full extent, and many will still only inspect pot holes when they reach a certain depth.  

Most local authorities will only assess potholes after they reach a depth of 40mm.

Cumbria, Flinstshire, and South Lanarkshire councils reported that they acted immediately to potholes that were deemed the most serious. 

Coventry, Leicestershire and Cornwall were among the slowest responding councils, with aims to respond ranging between 48hrs to five days.  

Intervention times will also depend on the physical size of the local authority area and also the length and makeup of the road  

RAC Foundation Steve Gooding said using a risk base analysis ensured the most dangerous potholes were fixed first, despite funding limits.  

“It is good to see that the vast majority of local highway authorities are adopting the best practice ‘risk-based’ approach recommended by the UK Roads Liaison Group, which is putting the risk to road users front and centre alongside the potential for a defect to develop into a bigger structural problem,” he said. 

“The total number of potholes being filled in might still be limited by a shortage of funding, but this approach at least means those that are most dangerous are fixed first.” 

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