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Bad weather causes pothole reports to double for Nottinghamshire roads

Recent bad weather has “ripped chunks” out of Nottinghamshire’s roads with the county council saying it is “firefighting” to bring them back up to scratch.

The Conservative-led authority says reports “almost doubled” between December 7 and January 7, though no specific figures were revealed.

It follows freezing temperatures in December and recent heavy rainfall causing damage to the surface of the county’s highways.

Winter is typically the worst period for road damage as cold temperatures cause surfaces to become more brittle.

The council says the sub-zero temperatures in December, salt used to grit roads and recent heavy rainfall caused the spike in pothole reports.

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It follows the authority recently reporting drastically-improved statistics on the state of the county’s roads.

It came after a cross-party review conducted in 2021 found the council should move away from the temporary asphalt repair method ‘Viafix’.

The new focus is on more permanent road replacement schemes and to shift towards a “right repair, right-first-time” approach.

Data published last month showed the use of ‘Viafix’ reduced by 61 per cent following the review, with the number of ‘patching gangs’ doubled from four to eight in a £15m investment last April.

These are the teams at Via East Midlands, the council’s highways contractor, who conduct permanent road replacement projects on behalf of the authority.

The council’s figures also showed the length of roads patched per day more than doubled from 46.9 daily square metres to 96.5 following the review.

And Councillor Ben Bradley (Con), the council’s leader and Mansfield’s MP, says the programme was “going really well” until recent weather conditions.

He said:

“Frustratingly, our roads programme was going really well until the weather hit and ripped chunks out of the roads,” he said.

“The feedback and the data had been excellent, and we will get back to that once we’ve finished firefighting the damage caused over the past couple of weeks.

“The roads are bad at the minute and, unfortunately, I can’t control the weather or the quality of work done long before I was here.

“But the key point I’ve been making is that we have put the investment in, teams are working 24/7 trying to tackle it and keep up with it, and this genuinely is a national issue.

“We’re not unique – one in three roads across the country need resurfacing nationally so we’re all in the same boat.”

The issue was discussed during the authority’s place select committee on Wednesday (January 11).

In the meeting, Cllr Penny Gowland (Lab), who represents West Bridgford North, said: “I’ve been astonished by the effects of the review of the highways, it has been very positive.

“I think the only question we should be asking as a council is how we got into the mess before. I guess it comes down to resources.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Neil Clarke (Con), portfolio holder for transport and environment, said: “Wintry conditions always take their toll on highways across Nottinghamshire.

“I would like to reassure our residents that we are not alone as an authority in experiencing this.

“We ask residents and road users to bear with us; 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.”

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