Somerset County Council has welcomed news of a one-off pot of £1.17m to fix potholes in Somerset – but says a greater long term investment in road maintenance is still required.
Today’s announcement from the Department for Transport of a national Pothole Action Fund claims the money could be used to fill 22,000 potholes in Somerset alone.
However, the County Council says that rather than simply filling in potholes, it is much more cost effective – albeit more expensive initially – to make a permanent repair by cutting out and replacing the failing section of road with hot material.
Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “We’re a big rural county with more than 4,000 miles of road, and have seen our funding from Government consistently reduced over recent years.
“So whilst this ‘one-off’ extra funding is very welcome, a greater ongoing level of investment from Government in our basic structural maintenance programme would enable us to ensure fewer potholes appear in the first place.
“We believe prevention is better than cure, and are committed to using a sound maintenance strategy to keep our roads safe. Despite the ongoing challenge of funding pressures, we continue to spend more than £20 million each year on our roads which includes major resurfacing and restructuring work, as well as repairing nearly 20,000 safety defects.”
Somerset County Council regularly inspects roads and footpaths for potholes, but also relies on members of the public to report any problems by phoning 0300 123 2224 or visiting www.somerset.gov.uk/reportapothole.
When you report a pothole, it will be inspected within three working days and a repair will be planned if it meets certain criteria.
These are in accordance with safety guidelines and take into account various factors ranging from the size and depth of the pothole to the volume and speed of traffic using that road.
As a guide, potholes identified as safety defects will be repaired within 28 days, although more severe hazards in busier locations can be repaired within 24 hours.
For more information about how Somerset County Council inspects and repairs potholes, please visit www.somerset.gov.uk/potholes.