Will We Ever Combat the Pothole Problem?

18th February, 2019

Potholes have become a major cause of concern for road users and the government. The data on pothole menace is worrying.

Nearly 1 million potholes have been reported every year since 2015, according to recent research by The Insurance Emporium. The City of Edinburgh Council recorded the highest number of potholes in the UK recording an average of 73 potholes at every kilometre stretch over the period of January 2015 to April 2018.

Why Potholes are a Cause for Concern?

Potholes can cause severe damage including breakdowns, bodily injuries and death. Cyclists are more vulnerable as they can be thrown off their bike when they hit a pothole unknowingly, which in some cases have had fatal consequences.

RAC findings reveal that the number of vehicles breaking down due to potholes was at a 3-year high during early 2018. The pothole impact data by the RAC for the period ending in October 2018 shows 14,220 damaged suspension springs and shock absorbers, and breakdowns due to distorted wheels. This is the second highest score since 2006 when the RAC first began recording pothole impact information.

About 335 claims of damage and injury involving potholes were made by cyclists during 2017-18, reveals The Insurance Emporium research. Of these claims, 16% were dental and personal injuries while 26% were about damages to the bikes.

Severe UK Winter and Summer Increasing Pothole Problems

Water, weather and road conditions contribute to pothole formation. Factors such as heavy traffic and rough weather cause cracks on the road’s surface through which water seeps in.

This water freezes and expands during cold conditions then melts in warm weather, which causes the road surface to contract. As a result, gaps form up between different sections of the road. Potholes then occur when these gaps are repeatedly exposed to heavy traffic driving over the top of these cracks.

Recent hot summers and harsh winters have increased the number of potholes in England, increasing the risk of vehicle damage and personal injury.

The number of pothole-related complaints has increased by an overwhelming 50% in just 2 years between 2015 and 2017, the RAC states.

The Pothole Index, which is a measurement of UK road conditions, is currently at 2.63. This figure indicates motorists are more than 2.5 times more likely to experience pothole damage to themselves or vehicle than they were 12 years ago.

Steps Taken to Tackle Pothole Problems

A better choice of materials for laying the roads seems to be the only practical long-term solution for minimising the UK’s pothole issue.

For the short-term though, several measures are being taken. An additional £420m over an existing amount of £300m was announced in the last budget for the local councils of England to help them tackle pothole problems.

The Highways England stipulates that pothole repairs on trunk roads and motorways need to be attended to within the earliest time possible to prevent unwanted consequences. In particular, potholes measuring over 150mm in diameter or 40mm in depth, need to be repaired within 24 hours.

The coldest months of January and February are generally the peak periods for potholes in the UK. Spreading awareness among road users on the use of better safety precautions during the peak periods can minimise pothole accidents.

MTS Plant, Your Trusted Partner

MTS Plant can be of assistance in solving the pothole problem with our range of skidsteer attachments, including Bobcat Sweeper and Planer attachments, which make pothole repair easier, faster and efficient. Skidsteer attachments are available for hire at our depots across the country.

When you hire our Bobcat Sweeper or the Bobcat Planer attachment, we also offer the necessary operational training – we offer complete after-market support with all our plant machinery.

Contact the MTS Plant team today to discuss your upcoming project:

Tel: 08000 156 555


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