Pledge that repairing potholes remains a priority
Monday, 24 June 2013
Extra resources and specialist equipment are being deployed as Hampshire County Council ensures pothole repairs are a top priority.
Reports of road defects, including potholes, are higher this year due to the effects of prolonged and heavy rain, snow and the extended period of freezing temperatures at the beginning of the year. To bring Hampshire's roads back to the condition they were in prior to the period of bad weather, the County Council has been stepping up its battle against potholes.
Cllr Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: "We know that the condition of Hampshire's roads is a concern for residents and businesses, and the Leader of the Council has ensured that tackling potholes remains a top priority for the authority. We've been putting in more money, more manpower and making the most of specialist equipment in order to restore our roads. This approach is already having a positive impact in the worst affected areas which we have been specifically targeting, with reports of defects beginning to fall from the high levels at the beginning of the year."
During March 2013 an extra £170,000 was re-directed to respond to reports of roads defects such as potholes. Funding in this year's highways budget has also been reprioritised to support works to restore the highways and this combined with specific funding from Central Government means an additional investment of around £3million.
The County Council's highways maintenance contractor Amey has increased the number of gangs working to fix the roads and additional mobile hotboxes that carry hot material for permanent pothole repairs are being used along with two 'Jetpatchers'.
Resources are being focused on safety defects and being targeted in the worst affected areas including enlisting reinforcements by trialling the Multihog in Andover and Romsey areas and the New Forest. The Multihog gives highways maintenance crews the ability to repair 200 square metres of road in just two hours. The single piece of equipment can plane out, fill and finish a road surface as it travels. This means repairs can be made more speedily than by hand or with the use of a mini-planer which, in turn, means less traffic disruption and a greater number of defects repaired in a shorter space of time.
In addition to acting on reports of potholes and other defects the County Council's planned maintenance strategy to make Hampshire's roads more resilient to extremes in weather and increased volumes of traffic - Operation Resilience - is continuing apace. This strategy has resulted in around 120 miles of Hampshire's road network - the equivalent of driving from Winchester to Cambridge, and 20 miles of footway receiving a new surface treatment or being resurfaced in 2013, in addition to completion of 40 separate schemes to improve highways drainage and footways across the county.
Cllr Woodward added: "We recognise that every pothole is a nuisance but with 5200 miles of road to maintain it is impossible to fix every single defect immediately, but we will take urgent action when it is required and are making every effort to bring our roads back into the condition they were before the weather took its toll this winter and spring. This includes stepping up Operation Resilience and resurfacing works over the summer."
Operation Resilience has a budget of £22 million for 2013-14, and represents the County Council's continuing commitment to long-term investment in planned structural maintenance, an approach that aims to ensure Hampshire's roads are strengthened and remain in good condition for longer.