£1 million pothole repair programme gets under way

A massive £1 million repair programme is getting under way to repair the county's roads damaged by the winter weather.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, 4:07 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd March 2016, 4:17 pm
Councillor Ian Swithenbank with jet patcher operator Stephen Waterstone filling in a pothole . Picture Jane Coltman

A combination of heavy rains followed by sub-zero temperatures has meant some 2,700 potholes are now beyond their target response time for repair.

This figure is increasing as more damage to the minor road network is being identified each day.

More than 300 larger defects have also been identified on Northumberland’s road network.

Now the council has agreed to spend £1.1m to improve the roads – with work starting immediately and set to go on for the next 16 weeks.

The weather conditions have warmed up enough to enable the council’s two ‘Jetpatchers’ to be used – state-of-the-art self-contained wagons that carry all the necessary equipment and materials to repair potholes.

The Jetpatchers can each repair around 145 potholes a day, at an average cost of less than £10 a hole.

Meanwhile ‘hotbox teams’, a more traditional method of repairing potholes, will be repairing a further 60 holes a day at a cost of around £12 a hole.

Extra staff are also being drafted in to repair highway drainage systems which have affected by the prolonged periods of heavy rainfall and flooding including clearing debris from gutters, re-cutting verges and digging out ditches.

In addition, the council will be carrying out patching works ahead of the annual road surface dressing programme, to repair the extra damage caused by the extreme weather.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, Cabinet Member for Local Services, said: “We know how vital our road network is and we are committed to doing all we can to tackle the current backlog of potholes.

“With over 5,000kms of road to look after, eradicating every single pothole is always going to be a challenge, but this investment means we will be repairing thousands of defects ahead of the summer season – meaning real improvements for residents and visitors.

“The fact the number of reports about road defects rose by 300% over the last three months shows how badly our network has been affected by the weather.

“This intensive work over the coming weeks will see teams out and about across the county carrying out repair work.”

To report a pothole people can go to http://bit.ly/NCCpothole