Are we getting to the bottom of the pothole problem?

Chris Peck's picture
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Why are our roads are in such a bad state? A report on potholes by the Government has been published today.
A pothole recently formed on an old road work site
A pothole recently formed on an old road work site

For the last few months CTC has been on the project board of a Department for Transport review into why potholes are created and what local authorities should be doing to prevent them from occurring. 

This review concluded with three headline recommendations:

  • Prevention is better than cure – intervening at the right time will reduce the amount of potholes forming and prevent bigger problems later.
  • Right first time – do it once and get it right, rather than face continuous bills. Guidance, knowledge and workmanship are key to this.
  • Clarity for the public – local highway authorities need to communicate to the public what is being done and how it is being done.

CTC's website received a particular mention in the report as a way the public can contribute to identifying potholes. CTC had argued that local authorities should do more to open up communication of how and when they fix potholes or conduct longer term maintenance.

CTC supports the conclusions and will now be seeking to ensure that local authorities implement the more detailed recommendations of the review, in particular around setting proper criteria for what constitutes a 'dangerous' pothole based on the risk to cyclists from its location in the road.

The detailed guidance to local authorities on how to organise their road maintenance comes from a document entitled 'Well Maintained Highways'. The Pothole Review makes many recommendations for how this document can be changed and CTC will be seeking to ensure that these revisions include proper consideration of the needs of cyclists.

The Government has acknowledged that the pothole problem has been getting worse in recent years - two particularly severe winters led to an extra £300m of maintenance funding.

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