Wednesday 22 May 2024
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Nottingham

Council to move away from temporary pothole repairs as a priority

Nottinghamshire County Council will move away from temporary road repairs “as much as we possibly can” once recommendations from the recent highways review are implemented, the council’s leader has said.

The authority revealed the outcome of the cross-party panel’s highways assessment last month following several meetings aimed at improving the way it repairs potholes and pavements.

The report provided about 50 recommendations on ways to improve repairs and the general state of Nottinghamshire’s roads, with figures revealing the authority repaired 476,000 potholes in five years.

Two external assessments were conducted into the council’s current methods – one by the Local Government Association and another by independent consultant WSP.

The authority also spoke with other county councils to see how work was conducted elsewhere and whether any methods could be used in Nottinghamshire.

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It was recommended the council move away from its existing patching repair work – using a material known as Viafix – and prioritise permanent road replacements as much as possible.

Viafix, a form of cold asphalt repair which fills in specific holes, will still be needed in emergency repairs, however, to “protect the safety of road users”.

The highways review was debated by members of the council’s policy committee on Thursday, December 2, for the final time before its recommendations are put into action.

Commenting on the shift towards new methods – and potential new technologies in the future – Councillor Ben Bradley (Con), the council’s leader, stressed a desire to move away from Viafix.

He said: “There are obviously things we have a statutory duty to do, particularly from a safety perspective, and there will be emergency repairs we still have to make.

“We can’t get away from that, but we are very much aware there are some such issues where it’s not an absolute emergency and needs an instant repair.

“That’s where the shift will go now. From my perspective, we shouldn’t tell the engineers how to do the engineering, but more set the policy and let them do the best thing by it.

“In the short-term, there will still no doubt be the use of [Viafix] as an emergency fix, but we would like to move away from that as much as we possibly can.”

The use of Viafix and other temporary repair methods has previously led to criticism of the council from residents.

Several councillors describe the state of the county’s roads as the “biggest issue on the doorstep” in May’s election, with the council planning to improve its communication with residents on when repair jobs will take place.

This will come alongside a shift from a one-year to a three-year investment programme in road repairs, which the council hopes will give residents more “clarity” on when their road is due for replacement and repair.

Cllr Daniel Williamson (Ash Ind), welcomed the plans during Thursday’s meeting and stressed the need to move away from Viafix.

He said: “I welcome the report and I’m really pleased the council wants to get it right the first time, taking a whole street approach. It’s an absolutely fantastic thing.

“Whilst I accept there are some situations where it’s going to be needed, but with us moving to this more holistic approach, I’d naturally assume it means a reduction in the use of Viafix.

“I’m more in hope than anticipation that we’re going to move away completely from using it once we find other techniques that work.”

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