Prevention is better than cure when it comes to pothole repairs, according to the Department for Transport and Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP)’s 2012 Pothole Review published this week. Assisted by experts from the public and private sectors, the 2012 Pothole Review explores the issues around pothole repairs, including the impact of long term highways maintenance strategies, prioritising and repairing, and wider operational arrangements. The Review also puts forward a number of recommendations to ensure adequate condition of the UK highways, cost efficiency, and to provide a quality service to users.
According to the Pothole Review, as highly visible defects, potholes are one of the public’s main local concerns. The National Highways and Transport Network Public Opinion Survey also shows that public satisfaction with the condition of surfaces and with the speed of repairing damaged roads and footpaths has fallen significantly over the last four years. Underinvestment by authorities in the local highway network over a number of years has led to a network that is fragile and lacks resilience to respond to environmental changes such as severe winter weather, high rainfall and high summer temperatures.
Broadly defined, potholes are potential defects that if not effectively repaired can risk causing accidents, with poorly repaired or unrepaired potholes having a longer term effect on the condition of the network and accelerate deterioration – alongside costs. Yet the additional cost of highway damage is not limited to local highway authorities, with wider costs to the economy, highway users and business, for example through the increased number of accidents, compensation and insurance claims, and traffic disruption.
The Pothole Review highlights three main themes: prevention is better than cure and how intervening at the right time will reduce the amount of potholes and subsequent pothole repairs; a right first time approach, achieved through guidance, knowledge, and workmanship; and clarity for the public, through effective communication.
Cost effective preventative maintenance can prevent potholes and other defects from occurring in the first place. The Review is calling for local highway authorities to adopt the principle that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and to adopt permanent repairs as the first choice, in order to improve the resilience of the highway network and minimise the occurrence of potholes and subsequent pothole repairs, together with a number of measures, such as efficient use of current knowledge and resources, sharing best practice, site preparation, supervision, competency and asset management.
JPCS has welcomed the review. Managing Director Peter Shone said: “We fully support the recommendations outlined in the 2012 Pothole Review and have developed working practices and products to help local authorities achieve these. As stated within the review, a preventative approach will deliver increased efficiencies in the longer term and we would always recommend long term maintenance using waterproofing surface treatment methods such as our Rejuvo range of treatments Yet whilst we recognise that “prevention is better than cure”, we also offer clients an innovative, extremely effective and long-lasting, “once and done” permanent pothole repair solution – Rejuvopatch – which can be used as a patching product or below surface dressing.”
JPCS is an experienced highways contractor, delivering a range of highways services including road repairs, pothole repairs and longer-term surfacing solutions.