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‘I have seen a pothole repaired 12 times, we need to do things differently’





There needs to be a change in approach to fixing potholes in Cambridgeshire, a councillor has said, after they claimed they had seen one pothole repaired 12 times over the last five years.

Councillor Brian Milnes (Liberal Democrat) said the “cheap and cheerful” repairs for some potholes only last a few months before they need to be fixed again.

Officers at Cambridgeshire County Council said they were hoping to use some of the extra investment planned by the authority to do more preventative works to prevent the “vicious cycle” of repairs.

Potholes on roads in Wisbech. Picture credit: Google Maps
Potholes on roads in Wisbech. Picture credit: Google Maps

At a meeting of the highways and transport committee on Tuesday, Cllr Milnes said he knew of a pothole that had been repeatedly fixed by the county council 12 times in the last five years.

He said “We are making use of dragon patcher, because it is very cost effective, it is cheap, but it is cheap and cheerful.

“I have got a particular case that was in my inbox yesterday, but that was the 221st email I have had on that road and we have repaired that (Granhams Road in Cambridge) several times, in fact we have repaired that three times in the last year.

Potholes on roads in Wisbech. Picture credit: Google Maps
Potholes on roads in Wisbech. Picture credit: Google Maps

“The material that the dragon patch puts in its potholes is quickly removed, sadly often into drainage gullies adjacent to where the work has been done, and then we have to go back and do it again.

“That Granhams Road example is pertinent because it just lasts three or four months maximum before potholes reappear.

“My question is, how do we make value judgments on what techniques we use, because it does not seem that it is right, so we need to do something different.”

Councillor Alex Beckett (Liberal Democrat), chair of the committee, said this was an issue he felt “passionate about”.

He said the county council was looking at being efficient and making sure the highways service was doing things right.

He added that it would help if the county council collected extra information about how many times the same site was repaired in order to make a value judgement on the best approach.

Councillor Alan Sharp (Conservative) said people were “fed up seeing their money going into the hole”. He said he knew it would make people happy if the county council fixed a pothole once and did it well.

Councillor Neil Shailer (Labour) said there was a difference between the temporary repairs put in place by the authority and the permanent repairs.

He said: “We have to recognise we cannot get a pothole without a pre-existing fault. We have had decades of neglect and we are reaping the negative results of that.”

Cllr Shailer said there were also problems with quickly ramping up the repair work, as he said some areas were seeing an “enormous amount of road works” by utility companies, and said they needed to keep the road network running.

An officer explained that the county council is hoping to use some of the additional £40million of highways funding to invest in preventative treatments on roads.

They said preventative work could help the authority avoid the “vicious cycle” of reactive repairs.

Frank Jordan, executive director for place and sustainability, added that in addition to the investment in the roads, he said the county council was also “putting quite a lot of resource and energy” into changing the highways service to make sure it works effectively.



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