Councils sitting on a 'ticking time bomb' of patched up potholes (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Councils sitting on a 'ticking time bomb' of patched up potholes
PATCHED and poorly repaired potholes littering the region’s roads are a "ticking timebomb" that could leave councils with an even bigger repair bill than anticipated, according to civil engineers.
The Northern Echo reported last week that local authorities in the North East and North Yorkshire are facing a £750m repair bill to fix roads damaged by successive freezing winters and prolonged flooding.
But the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) North East has warned that years of patching potholes as a quick fix, instead of carrying out proper repairs, has simply added to the burden on councils.
ICE said local authorities had tried to avoid disruption and save money by carrying out quick repairs on potholes, but now faced a "massive job" to bring highways back to a good standard.
When questioned about their pothole repair policy, a number of the region’s councils said patching was done as a safety measure and as a cost-effective method of making repairs.
Brian Buckley, Durham County Council’s strategic highways manager, said: “Initially, we may undertake temporary repairs to make the road safe. However, we also have a programme of structural maintenance which ranges from permanent patching to full resurfacing schemes.”
In North Yorkshire, which is facing a £220m repair bill, potholes are quickly filled in for safety reasons, a spokeswoman said.
She added: “The council undertakes patching works on the filled potholes as the most cost-effective method of maintaining the road surface in working condition.”
A spokesman for Middlesbrough Council said the authority made decisions as to whether to patch or repair potholes based on individual circumstances and road conditions.
A Darlington Borough Council spokewoman said the authority had a policy of inspecting main roads every month.
She added: “Our initial concern is to make the road safe and this can sometimes mean a temporary repair is carried out while more substantial work is being arranged.”
Penny Marshall, interim director of ICE North East, said: “It’s a case of quick fixes leading to greater problems down the line. Many of the potholes across the North-East have simply been patched up.
“This is now a massive job. As much as the disruption might have been unpleasant, these problems could have been much less significant if there had been more investment two or three years ago.”