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The impact of winter on potholes

17 January 2023

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Following a period of cold weather and prolonged heavy rain, Nottinghamshire County Council and their highways partner Via East Midlands are working hard to keep the county’s roads safe.

The winter weather means that residents may see an increase in urgent repairs to keep roads safe until larger scale repairs can be made, but the county council would like to assure residents that permanent repairs are still continuing.

One of the reasons potholes form is because of the ‘freeze thaw’ effect whereby road surfaces freeze and thaw repeatedly, causing deterioration.

Couple this with exceptional levels of rainfall over recent weeks and the county council says that an increase in potholes is to be expected.

Despite the weather conditions having an impact on roads, improvements made following Nottinghamshire County Council’s cross-party Highways Review Panel mean that repair works are now more efficient than previously.

Residents can expect higher quality, longer term repairs following a move to a ‘right first time’ approach with an increased focus on patch repairs.

When potholes are reported to the council, an inspector will visit the site, and a decision on its repair will be made depending on its size, location and severity.  

If potholes haven’t been repaired, it may be because they haven’t been reported, and so residents are reminded to continue reporting potholes to the county council either through the website or the My Notts App.

Councillor Neil Clarke MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Winter conditions always take their toll on highways across Nottinghamshire, but I would like to reassure our residents that we are not alone as an authority in experiencing this.

“We’re open about the fact that we have seen an increase in the number of pothole reports in recent weeks, but we also want our residents to know that this isn’t unusual at this time of year.

“At the start of December, Nottinghamshire experienced a period of severe cold weather with road temperatures dipping as low as minus seven degrees at times, and it is this coupled with the effects of salt as we grit the network and the exceptional level of rainfall over recent weeks which has caused potholes to form.

“The RAC said themselves last week that this has been the coldest start to a winter in 12 years and that because of this they have seen a rise in the number of pothole related breakdowns in the last three months of 2022.  

“With over 3,000 miles of roads to maintain in Nottinghamshire, we’re doing all that we can to take action following the bad weather and our teams are working hard to keep up with repairs.

“We know that potholes are of great concern to local residents and that is why over the last 18 months as part of our Highways Services Review, we have increased the productivity of our repair teams by over 100% and have moved to a right first-time approach, decreasing short term pothole repairs by 61%.

“We are in the early stages of our programme to invest £12million into Nottinghamshire’s roads over the next four years and we’re really starting to see the benefit of this in local communities where our teams have been out to carry out longer term patch repairs.

“We do know however that there is work still to do, but I am confident that as we move through our investment programme, we will continue to see more positive results.

“We ask residents and road users to bear with us as they will likely see an increase in emergency repairs as we keep roads safe through the winter until larger scale permanent repairs can be made, however we’ll still be undertaking permanent repairs wherever we can and are continuing with our large-scale patch repairs, as part of our four-year programme.

“I would like to thank Nottinghamshire residents for reporting potholes to us and I would like to ask that they continue to do so either through our website or the My Notts App. https://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/transport/roads/potholes/report-a-pothole

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