Temporary pothole repairs have decreased by nearly two-thirds in Nottinghamshire since a review into highways maintenance led to more permanent improvements.
Nottinghamshire County Council says the use of Viafix – a form of asphalt treatment to temporarily fill potholes – has decreased by 61 per cent in the past year.
The authority commissioned a cross-party highways review last summer because the state of county roads was described by some councillors as the “biggest issue on doorsteps” in the May 2021 election.
It aimed to move towards a “right repair, right-first-time” approach where roads were resurfaced rather than holes being temporarily filled.
Some politicians reported seeing road repair teams returning to the same pothole shortly after using Viafix and complained of “substandard work”.
But now, 18 months on from the review, the authority says fewer roads are being temporarily fixed and more permanent road replacements are taking place.
Data discussed in a cabinet meeting on Thursday (December 15) said 96.5 square metres of road have been patched on average per day since the review concluded last year.
This was up from 46.9 daily square metres before the review was commissioned.
It follows the authority doubling the number of patching teams from four to eight earlier this year and committing to a £15m, three-year repair programme.
The three-year plan was a shift away from a one-year approach, which the authority said in February would give residents “certainty” over when their area will be resurfaced.
Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Councillor Neil Clarke (Con), cabinet member for transport and environment, said the data shows progress is being made.
He said: “Residents are telling us themselves that they can see a vast improvement in their roads.
“The statistics are there for people to see – we’ve doubled the repair teams, the productivity each team is achieving, and we’ve quadrupled the number of repairs.
“Not only that, we’ve changed the emphasis from small pothole repairs to large patch repairs, and we’ve reduced, already, the amount of Viafix temporary pothole repairs by more than 60 per cent.
“We will never cancel Viafix pothole repairs completely – there’s always going to be [used in] an emergency somewhere – but there will be a major reduction in the number of pothole repairs.”
The figures were broadly welcomed by cabinet members in Thursday’s meeting.
However, Cllr Bruce Laughton (Con), deputy leader and divisional member for Muskham and Farnsfield, said there is still more work to do.
It follows figures last year showing 476,043 potholes were repaired countywide between 2016/17 and 2020/21.
Cllr Laughton’s division had the most repairs of any area in Notts, with 30,904 over five years, and he says people are still finding problems.
He said: “There’s still work to be done as far as my areas are concerned.
“It’s not all good news, there’s still a lot of work to be done in those areas where there is a high density of potholes, and we need to make sure we address this.”
Opposition councillors have also raised some concerns and say the situation on Nottinghamshire’s roads is far from fixed.
Cllr Helen-Ann Smith (Ash Ind), who represents Sutton North, said: “2022 will be remembered for a complete lack of progress from a council failing to get to grips with fixing our broken roads and pavements.
“The council is utterly failing at the basics and no amount of figures and spin can change that.
“People can see the Tory failures with their own eyes. They don’t believe what they say anymore.”
Responding to this comment, Cllr Clarke said: “This is completely outdated, old rhetoric that is no longer relevant.”