Patching squad is on the prowl

A pothole in Torbay Grove. Picture by FRANK REID
A pothole in Torbay Grove. Picture by FRANK REID

COUNCIL chiefs say a specialist pothole patching squad has been working flat out in the last 12 months and filled in thousands of holes in Hartlepool roads.

Hartlepool Borough Council will this year spend around £350,000 on pothole repairs as the roads crumble after being hit by snow and freezing temperatures.

It comes as the team was called out 616 times one town roads throughout 2012 where filled in thousands of potholes that were caused by last winter’s freezing conditions.

The Mail re-launched the Plot the Pots campaign urging you to let us know where there are potholes on town roads.

We will then send any entries to the council and bosses say they will send out specialist officers to assess the problem.

Huge holes in the road can be a danger to motorists and pedestrians and need to be repaired before anyone is hurt.

The cold and wet winter has seen potholes appearing across Hartlepool and East Durham and the current freezing temperatures, that have topped -7C, will have a devastating impact on road surfaces. 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.

Repairs are given priority based on the size and severity of potholes and whether they are deemed to be a danger, but council chiefs are urging people to back the campaign and help get them fixed.

Mike Blair, the council’s highways, traffic and transport manager, said the road network is suffering badly due to the weather and it is leading to an increase in potholes.

“Throughout 2012 the patching squad completed 616 jobs but at each they will have filled in several potholes. The will have easily filled in thousands last year.”

He added: “We do inspections on the roads every six months, so this is where information from members of the public can be beneficial as they can give us information on potholes that have appeared since. Any help in identifying these potholes that people can provide us with would be beneficial.”

Council bosses say the ideal situation would see entire roads resurfaced instead of just patching repairs, but it would cost around £25m and the Government does not provide that much funding for road schemes.

The council will spend around £350,000 this year on pothole repairs, which does not include the £640,000 that is spend in the town on resurfacing complete stretches of roads.

It has a patching squad that works solely on repairing potholes five-days-a-week and bosses say they are constantly working on repairing them.

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.

People can report potholes by calling the council on (01429) 523333.

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