Major revamp of pothole repairs to be rolled out this summer
- Credit: Archant
A trial to tackle potholes in Ipswich more swiftly has been so successful that it is due to be rolled out across the whole county this summer, highways chiefs have confirmed.
The trial by Suffolk Highways began in October out of the Ipswich depot- which tackled potholes sooner and repaired smaller potholes before they could expand.
Highways data showed that because of the previous way of categorising them, crews could only tackle the larger potholes in a road, meaning the smaller ones were ignored and had to be dealt with at a later date.
This caused teams to spend 40% of their day travelling between jobs.
The new system allows engineers to tackle more potholes in a road, reducing the amount of time travelling between lots of jobs and allowing them to deal with potholes more quickly.
Mary Evans, cabinet member for highways, confirmed the scheme would be rolled out permanently across the county this summer: "It was incredibly complicated and that led to complaints from [highway maintenance] gangs that they were driving over potholes to get to potholes.
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"The rate you pay the teams is the same whatever they do, and the material they put in the pothole is the same, so the efficiency savings comes from the travel time.
"I am really pleased - it's about looking at ways the system can be more efficient."
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The new system means that potholes on rural roads can be tackled at 200mm in diameter and 40mm deep, rather than 400mm in diameter and 50mm deep.
The maximum wait to repairing those defects has also reduced from 14 weeks to eight.
Figures from Suffolk Highways revealed that around 98% of all potholes were first-time fixes now, rather than the 60% following the Beast from the East which led to a pothole crisis on the county's roads.
A firm date for when the new system will be rolled out has not been given, but is being planned for this summer.
The reduced travelling time has also meant that the cost of tackling more potholes has been evened out.
Mrs Evans said the highways team was now looking at other areas where efficiencies can be achieved, including overruns at the sides of roads which are opened up by large goods vehicles, other thermal pothole patch repair equipment and road closure procedures as part of a "general review" of the whole system.