• Ginger Lehmann

National Pothole Day - What can Local Authorities do to Prevent Potholes and Save Money?

Today (15th January 2020) is National Pothole Day organised by campaigner Mr.Pothole and Ultracrete the official sponsor. In this article, we will cover tips for how local authorities to prevent potholes and benefits of this alongside some information on potholes and road surface damage.


The mission of National Pothole Day is to draw attention to the current shortfall of funding needed to repair Britain’s ever-increasing potholes, ‘with the hope that more can be done to release funds and to help local authorities tackle this re-occurring national road crisis permanently’.


Potholes are not only a nuisance to drivers but can have some serious consequences. Including vehicle damage, and injury to those on two-wheeled vehicles, push bikes and for pedestrians. Potholes on footways can cause risk of injury to pedestrians as well as making it inaccessible for some users.


We know decreasing funds for highway Maintenance makes it increasingly difficult for local authorities to keep on top of the pothole crisis. This is why we are supporting the cause today and increasing awareness.



So as a local authority what can you do to help reduce risks created by potholes?


  • One important step is to make sure high-quality materials are being used. This reduces the risk of further damage and protects the road for a longer period.


  • Making sure you keep up to date and utilise effectively your condition data from highway surveying and keeping track of the areas that need attention. Using a reputable company such as Ginger Lehmann will provide you with high-quality data for maximising your asset management capabilities.


  • Do not underestimate the importance of sorting potholes! Most councils end up paying compensation claims due to damage caused by potholes. It is cheaper long term to fix the problem early on.



Information on potholes


Here are some key points that have been taken from the "Prevention and a better cure: Potholes Review" commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT). The overriding theme that we took away from the document was quality. The higher quality the data, planning, materials, training and application, the better the condition repair will be and thus will last for longer.


  • Failure mechanisms that result in a pothole have been identified as either ‘top down’ or ‘bottom up’ . A top down failure is essentially a localised fault that develops into fretting and becomes progressive. A bottom up failure results from a fault at depth, usually involving the presence of water, which causes cracking and leads to a block of material breaking away. In both cases, it is the resultant form of damage that is called a pothole, rather than the failure mechanism involved.


  • They are also often considered safety defects which require a quick response to make the highway safe. They can cause a relatively thin road, footway or cycleway structure to deteriorate quickly, but thicker structures are less likely to be affected in the same way.


  • The report highlights that many pothole repairs on local roads are undertaken in relatively thin, evolved roads. It concentrates on hot mix repairs on roads, and describes the use of aggregate dominated or matrix dominated materials and the need to consider both engineering characteristics and compatibility with the surrounding material. The following is a summary of the essential aspects of the repair process:

• Preparation is key to good repair.

• Clean and dry excavation is essential.

• Debris and water must be removed from the pothole.

• Edge formation, usually vertical edges, provide cleaner surfaces for bond adhesion and is mainly achieved by saw cutting.

• Avoidance of acute angles.

• Application of a bond coat to the base and sides of the excavation for full adhesion and to mitigate against later water ingress.

• Selection of compatible infill material on the basis of ease of installation and good compaction.


For further information read the full documentation at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/3995/pothole-review.pdf .

For more information on how we can collect data on your assets, including the identification of potholes and major defects, and can help on this issue contact us or visit our website to see more details on our services.


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