A winter of torrential rain has increased the strain on crews responsible for fixing potholes

Adrian Hampton says a hole has to be 2ins deep to count

A hole around a manhole cover is reported

Within minutes the Viafix has repaired it

First published in News
Last updated
by

The past two severe winters put a strain on Wiltshire Council’s ability to cope with potholes but the wet weather, which started in December and continued throughout January, means the pressure is on like never before.

Motorists have been phoning, emailing and sending information via a new smartphone app to report potholes on almost every major route in the county.

But the council is to spend £21 million on resurfacing roads every year for the next six years - a £52m increase in what was due to be spent.

Cabinet member for highways John Thomson said: “I know it is the single most important subject for people in Wiltshire at the moment.”

Coun Thomson along with Philip Whitehead, the highways contract portfolio holder, were in Chippenham along with a team from Balfour Beatty and highways officer Adrian Hampton to show how a combination of a new road mending product and new technology is helping to beat the problem.

Coun Thomson pointed to the fact that a total of 1,117 potholes were repaired in the Wiltshire Council area in January – three times more than last year – despite the highways teams also having to cope with severe flooding.

The hit squad team made up of Balfour Beatty workers Ryan Harte and Andy Pothecary showed how a new product called Viafix can turn a huge hole in the road into a smooth surface in minutes.

They first set to work on a badly pocked stretch of road near the Hathaway Retail Park.

Just a few minutes after the cold mix was first poured into a large hole and squashed down with a pounding machine it looked almost as good as new.

Mr Harte said: “It is very quick and hopefully it will be long lasting as well.”

Coun Thomson said although the Viafix itself can last a number of years, other conditions can make the road around it crack – causing potholes to return.

It was then up to Birds Marsh View, Chippenham, where a large pothole next to a manhole cover was causing problems.

Again the hole was quickly filled and, as if to prove the council’s point that it has extra crews out scouting and fixing holes, another Balfour Beatty truck arrived to fix the same hole.

Mr Hampton said potholes form when water gets into cracks in the road then freezes, making the crack bigger and creating a hole. When cars then drive over it, the hole gets bigger and deeper.

But he said new technology means it is much easier for the council to keep in constant touch with the work crews.

He said: “When potholes are reported it is logged on the system and then is sent to the tablets used by the Balfour Beatty teams so information can be constantly updated.”

He said Viafix had also transformed road mending but where the road surface had been badly damaged the work had to be planned so that roads could be closed and repairs using hot Tarmac could be carried out.

Fact file

  • Wiltshire Council is responsible for 2,765 miles of roads
  •  1,117 potholes were repaired in January
  • 1,275 potholes were reported from December 24, 2013 and January 20, 2014
  •  332 potholes were reported from December 24 to January 20, 2013
  • The council will spend £21 million on resurfacing roads every year for the next six years
  • The highways team works round the clock, seven days a week when needed
  •  During severe winter weather the council and Balfour Beatty Living Places has up to 200 workers repairing roads
  • Four extra road mending gangs are now working scouting and fixing pot holes
  •  A and B roads are prioritised

Comments (8)

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4:50pm Thu 6 Feb 14

chrisbizarre says...

Patching up holes with cold lay will only solve the problem in the short term. Paying a private company to do the same job every few years when it could be done properly once every 10-15 years is madness and illustrative of the idiocy shown by this totally corrupt council. It may be cheaper this year but in 15 years time it will work out much more expensive. By then the councillors will have been voted out and would have filled their coffers with allowance money so I'm sure they don't really care. If people see the holes being filled they think the council is doing a good job. The proper way to do it is to cut out a larger part of the road and re-lay it using hot tarmac and making sure that a tar product is used to stop the water getting into the cracks.
Patching up holes with cold lay will only solve the problem in the short term. Paying a private company to do the same job every few years when it could be done properly once every 10-15 years is madness and illustrative of the idiocy shown by this totally corrupt council. It may be cheaper this year but in 15 years time it will work out much more expensive. By then the councillors will have been voted out and would have filled their coffers with allowance money so I'm sure they don't really care. If people see the holes being filled they think the council is doing a good job. The proper way to do it is to cut out a larger part of the road and re-lay it using hot tarmac and making sure that a tar product is used to stop the water getting into the cracks. chrisbizarre
  • Score: 11

6:10pm Thu 6 Feb 14

shed says...

Yet they are still laying tarmac over stretches of road around Pewsey, to the extent they are closing roads to do it
In and out of Alton Barnes for example.
why are they doing that instead of giving 100% attention to the urgent repairs
needed?

I don't think its a matter of corrupt as much as total incompetence.
Yet they are still laying tarmac over stretches of road around Pewsey, to the extent they are closing roads to do it In and out of Alton Barnes for example. why are they doing that instead of giving 100% attention to the urgent repairs needed? I don't think its a matter of corrupt as much as total incompetence. shed
  • Score: 1

8:35pm Thu 6 Feb 14

Atthefootofthestairs says...

Why don't you write in 'Shed' and get a proper answer to your question. This article is about reactive temporary repairs, and the surfacing around Alton Barnes is the long term planned maintenance designed to last those 10-15 years as 'ChrisBizarre' suggests.
Why don't you write in 'Shed' and get a proper answer to your question. This article is about reactive temporary repairs, and the surfacing around Alton Barnes is the long term planned maintenance designed to last those 10-15 years as 'ChrisBizarre' suggests. Atthefootofthestairs
  • Score: 3

11:19pm Thu 6 Feb 14

chippenhamgedd says...

Fill That Hole is a great website. It is free and you can pick he exact spot that needs filling in because you can zoom in using Google maps whilst also writing a description. I have done this many a time and each and every time the hole gets filled within a few weeks or reporting it.
Fill That Hole is a great website. It is free and you can pick he exact spot that needs filling in because you can zoom in using Google maps whilst also writing a description. I have done this many a time and each and every time the hole gets filled within a few weeks or reporting it. chippenhamgedd
  • Score: 0

1:18am Fri 7 Feb 14

beetawix says...

chippenhamgedd wrote:
Fill That Hole is a great website. It is free and you can pick he exact spot that needs filling in because you can zoom in using Google maps whilst also writing a description. I have done this many a time and each and every time the hole gets filled within a few weeks or reporting it.
what, the same hole?
[quote][p][bold]chippenhamgedd[/bold] wrote: Fill That Hole is a great website. It is free and you can pick he exact spot that needs filling in because you can zoom in using Google maps whilst also writing a description. I have done this many a time and each and every time the hole gets filled within a few weeks or reporting it.[/p][/quote]what, the same hole? beetawix
  • Score: 1

8:37am Fri 7 Feb 14

politepanda says...

beetawix wrote:
chippenhamgedd wrote:
Fill That Hole is a great website. It is free and you can pick he exact spot that needs filling in because you can zoom in using Google maps whilst also writing a description. I have done this many a time and each and every time the hole gets filled within a few weeks or reporting it.
what, the same hole?
Probably.
[quote][p][bold]beetawix[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chippenhamgedd[/bold] wrote: Fill That Hole is a great website. It is free and you can pick he exact spot that needs filling in because you can zoom in using Google maps whilst also writing a description. I have done this many a time and each and every time the hole gets filled within a few weeks or reporting it.[/p][/quote]what, the same hole?[/p][/quote]Probably. politepanda
  • Score: 1

10:25am Fri 7 Feb 14

shed says...

Atthefootofthestairs wrote:
Why don't you write in 'Shed' and get a proper answer to your question. This article is about reactive temporary repairs, and the surfacing around Alton Barnes is the long term planned maintenance designed to last those 10-15 years as 'ChrisBizarre' suggests.
Because I have been "writing in" complaining, photographing some stretches of road for 20 yrs, ironically resurfacing has made drainage problems worse by altering the surface levels around drains.

WCC response ranges from not replying to PR rubbish.

The are presumably more than the two men in the photo above doing that resurfacing, wouldn't it be a more sensible idea to leave that till later and put that crew onto the pot holes?

I take it you haven't travelled from Burbage through Pewsey lately,? If this lot of wet starts to freeze it'll be a cart track once more.

WCC are penny wise pound foolish, except on the subject of their expenses of course.
[quote][p][bold]Atthefootofthestairs[/bold] wrote: Why don't you write in 'Shed' and get a proper answer to your question. This article is about reactive temporary repairs, and the surfacing around Alton Barnes is the long term planned maintenance designed to last those 10-15 years as 'ChrisBizarre' suggests.[/p][/quote]Because I have been "writing in" complaining, photographing some stretches of road for 20 yrs, ironically resurfacing has made drainage problems worse by altering the surface levels around drains. WCC response ranges from not replying to PR rubbish. The are presumably more than the two men in the photo above doing that resurfacing, wouldn't it be a more sensible idea to leave that till later and put that crew onto the pot holes? I take it you haven't travelled from Burbage through Pewsey lately,? If this lot of wet starts to freeze it'll be a cart track once more. WCC are penny wise pound foolish, except on the subject of their expenses of course. shed
  • Score: 2

11:52am Fri 7 Feb 14

kimcrawley says...

The cabinet member knows 'that this is the single most important issue for the people of Wiltshire'
Oh no it isn't, the most important issue is to get rid of you and your money grabbing cabinet colleagues.
Save the money spent on the cabinet by sacking the lot of them, using their own standards the cabinet should have been outsourced months ago.
The cabinet member knows 'that this is the single most important issue for the people of Wiltshire' Oh no it isn't, the most important issue is to get rid of you and your money grabbing cabinet colleagues. Save the money spent on the cabinet by sacking the lot of them, using their own standards the cabinet should have been outsourced months ago. kimcrawley
  • Score: 0

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