100207 Pot Holes

Letter to Surrey Advertiser

Sir

A regular feature over many years in your letters page is the frustration of residents about our roads.  I have written previously (and had Guildford’s MP, Anne Milton’s support) to highlight that this problem has a long-term cause.

Most potholes come about as a result of service trenches dug through the road’s covering and substructure (Hedgeway and Old Palace Road provide good examples).  This is rarely reinstated as it should be (often using the wrong materials, poor bonding and inadequate finishing).  Water gets through the gaps at the edges and, when the frosts come, it freezes and ‘blows’ the material out of the hole when traffic inevitably passes over it – vibration and pressure combining to break down the fill.

Some potholes (such as can be found in Scillonian Road) are caused where a new surface is laid over a poorly-prepared surface (often over inadequately filled holes).  Here, a small crack in the tarmac allows water through and the newer surface bursts off.

These holes should be repaired properly in accordance with guidelines on the Highways Department website (www.highways.gov.uk).

In order to manage this going forward – and for it not to be a major drain on dwindling local authority resources – there needs to be a scheme whereby the utility companies are responsible for their road works in a similar way to contractors who have to provide long-term insured warranties to clients (and carry out necessary ‘snagging’ repairs after a year) when carrying out construction.  Works should only be undertaken by certified contractors who have the relevant insurance and pro-forma warranties in place.

These contractors must adopt best practice in the digging and refilling of trenches (using the guidelines published by the Highways Department.  These works must thereafter be properly maintained to ensure that any shrinkage cracking is treated with asphalt to prevent water getting in and freezing.

This is the ONLY way we can get on top of this issue.  Our MP has agreed with me that this problem demands a professional solution.  Sue Doughty has so far simply moaned about the state of the roads and the County Council’s failures.  At a general election we will have the chance to raise our voices again on this issue.  I would like all candidates to support the approach set out in this letter – I am happy to provide all candidates with a copy of my proposal previously forwarded to Anne Milton.

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