Pothole repair performance sinks in East Dunbartonshire

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Research by the RAC Foundation shows that East Dunbartonshire Council is below average at carrying out timely repairs of road defects such as potholes.

In a response to research carried out by the charity, East Dunbartonshire said it took up to four hours to repair the most serious types of potholes, with less severe problems simply deferred to the next roadworks programme without any repair work being done.

The study encompassed all UK local authorities and East Dunbartonshire was placed soundly in the bottom half, but was still significantly ahead of worst performer Coventry, which has set a five-day target for fixing the most severe problems.

The study also found that authorities are increasingly adopting the ‘risk-based’ approach to fixing road defects. This considers other factors, such as road type and traffic patterns rather than just the size of the pothole when deciding repair priorities.

However, almost all authorities still set minimum sizes before assessing potholes and the minimum size before requiring action differs widely between local authorities.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “It is good to see that the vast majority of local highway authorities are adopting the best practice ‘risk-based’ approach recommended by the UK Roads Liaison Group, which is putting the risk to road users front and centre alongside the potential for a defect to develop into a bigger structural problem.

“The total number of potholes being filled in might still be limited by a shortage of funding, but this approach at least means those that are most dangerous are fixed first.

“It is understandable that large rural authorities set themselves longer response times, simply as a result of having to travel further to effect repairs, but motorists might still be surprised to see such a wide variation across the country.

“Those particularly vulnerable to potholes – cyclists and motorcyclists – might ask whether the speed of pothole investigation should be based solely on the risk to users.”

The UK Roads Liaison Group recommends that primary, secondary and main distributor roads are inspected monthly; link roads once a quarter; and local roads once a year.

In addition to potholes inspections also look out for damaged or missing manhole covers and drain grates, and damage to the edge of the carriageway.