Road users could be set for a bumpy ride as council considers making pothole repair target times longer

A pothole

A pothole - Credit: David H.Tomlinson

Potholes which currently have to be repaired in 24 hours could be left unattended for five days under proposals being considered by Suffolk County Council.

But Graham Newman, the council’s cabinet member responsible for roads and transport, said the change would reduce the overall risk to road users.

When the council is notified of potholes, it reports them to contractors Kier MG who are tasked with repairing them.

Under the original contract between the two parties, the more dangerous potholes, such as those deeper than 100mm or with sharp edges, on strategic and distributor roads had to be repaired in 24 hours.

There was also an emergency one-hour response time for the most serious cases to be used at the discretion of the council’s officers.

But now a proposal to be considered by the council’s scrutiny committee is suggesting this is lengthened to 48 hours for the worst potholes on busier roads, with all others having to be repaired within five days.

Mr Newman said: “As part of delivering related works, we need to ensure that small scale, reactive repairs are undertaken as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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“This approach will reduce the overall risk to road users and the nuisance of roadworks as we plan to repair each pothole once as a permanent measure.”

Whenever a response time is not met the council deducts money from the payments it makes to Kier MG for providing the service.

The document before the scrutiny committee on March 12 says old targets led to temporary repairs being made which then cause further problems later, costing the council and Kier MG more money.

A spokesman for Kier MG said: “The suggested amendment to the contract is a policy decision by Suffolk County Council following in-depth discussions with Kier around ways to improve productivity and public perception.

“The revised timescale would allow us to make permanent repairs rather than temporary ones which will not only improve road surfaces around Suffolk but also save money as it removes the need for repeat visits and will enable our workforce to carry out more repairs.

“In addition this would mean less delays and better driving conditions for road users in the area.”