Mild winter spares roads

COUNCIL chiefs say the mild weather so far this winter has left road surfaces in better condition than in previous years.

Hartlepool Borough Council bosses say that the towns roads are still showing some signs of damage from previous winters but could have been in a worse state if there had been severe freezing temperatures and prolonged show.

Mike Blair, the council’s highways, traffic and transport manager at the council, said: “The roads are still showing signs of damage they have had over the past few winters.

“The additional damage associated with extra cold hasn’t happened yet, but if we do get some major freezing the roads will start to show as in previous years.

“We have also been very lucky with flooding incidents as this year we haven’t had any major flooding.”

Potholes are caused when water gets into cracks in the surface of roads, before it freezes and expands, causing them to crumble away when they are driven over.

Council bosses say the ideal situation would see entire roads resurfaced instead of just patching repairs, but it would cost around £20m and the Government does not provide that much funding for road schemes.

He added: “Last year wasn’t that bad, but the two years before that we had two-week incidents of snow and rain.

“The roads are hanging in there, at the moment they are OK, but if we do get a few weeks of snow I think it will take its toll.

“But they are still in need of a lot of repairs because of a lack of investment by governments in the past 20 years.”

The council has a patching squad that works on repairing potholes but Mr Blair said he would prefer to be able to resurface whole roads as covering potholes with patches only lasts for around two years, as long as they are not hit by severe temperatures.

Regular surveys are carried out on road surfaces and potholes are categorised on how urgently they need to be repaired.

Potholes that are around an inch and a half deep and 12-inches long are aimed to be repaired within 24 hours. Council bosses aim to repair any other potholes within 28 days, and bosses say in the main they tend to reach their targets.

Ring (01429) 523333 to report potholes to the council.