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Trial to tackle potholes sooner to go Suffolk-wide after Ipswich success


By Jason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter


A trial to tackle potholes in Ipswich sooner has been so successful it is due to be rolled out across the county this summer.

The Suffolk Highways scheme began in October out of the Ipswich depot, which tackled potholes sooner and smaller potholes before they could expand.

Highways data showed that under the previous method of categorising potholes, crews could only tackle the larger potholes in a road, meaning that the smaller ones were ignored and had to be dealt with at a later date, causing crews to spend 40 per cent of their day travelling between jobs.

Pothole
Pothole

The new system allows engineers to tackle more potholes in a road, reducing the amount of time travelling between lots of jobs and dealing with potholes quicker.

Mary Evans, cabinet member for highways, confirmed the scheme would be rolled out permanently across the county this summer.

She said: “It was incredibly complicated and that led to complaints from [highway maintenance] gangs that they were driving over potholes to get to potholes.

“The rate you pay the gangs is the same whatever they do, and the material they put in the pothole is the same, so the efficiency savings comes from the travel time. I am really pleased – it’s about looking at ways the system can be more efficient.”

The new system means that potholes on rural roads can be tackled at 200mm in diameter and 40mm deep, rather than 400mm in diameter and 50mm deep.

The maximum wait to repairing those defects has also reduced from 14 weeks to eight.

A firm date for when the new system will be rolled out has not been given but is being planned for this summer. The reduced travelling time has also meant that the costs of tackling more potholes has been evened out.

Mrs Evans said the highways team was looking at other potential efficiencies including overruns at the sides of roads which are opened up by large goods vehicles.



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