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Extra commitment to tackle county’s roads

12 May 2023

Extra funding and more resources are being ploughed into the county’s roads to help tackle the repairs needed.

Since the winter, there has been a significant increase in the number of potholes experienced and reported. Currently, there are 10,000 recorded requiring repair and 2,700 fixed last week. In comparison to this time last year, there were 5,000 potholes recorded and 1,200 being fixed a week.

Additional funding from the Department for Transport has provided the council with an extra £3.617m. This will allow for a new proactive approach to be used to manage our response to the increasing number of potholes on the county’s roads. The money will be spent on an additional programme of work where the council will ‘find, record and fix’ minor surface issues before they develop into potholes. This will be done using new technology which provides an improved way of surveying the condition of roads and will help direct where this work will be delivered.

The extra money also means there are more crews on the ground – normally there are four crews and two dragon patchers available across the county, now there are eight crews and five dragon patchers working hard to repair potholes.

Cllr Alex Beckett, chair of Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “I am very conscious of people’s frustrations with the potholes around our county and we’re doing everything we can to get on top of this. This is why we’re investing more money and finding more resources to tackle this issue as quickly as possible.

“We’re seeing double the number of potholes compared to the previous winter and we’re fixing double each week - usually we repair between 1,000-1,200 a week, last week we hit 2,700 repairs - so we’re already seeing the positive impact extra crews on the ground and dragon patchers are having.”

Cllr Neil Shailer, vice-chair of Highways and Transport Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, added: “Not only are we putting more resources on the ground, we’ll also be increasing our monitoring of the quality of the work that is delivered to help improve the service we offer to Cambridgeshire. This means we’ll be looking at the quality of the work ordered and delivered.

“My thanks go out to the public for reporting faults and my last plea is for people to continue reporting any potholes or highway faults using our online tool. It's easy to use and flags any faults which have not yet been marked. We would rather have multiple reports of the same fault, than none at all -

Pothole facts:

  • In general terms, if a pothole is large and deep, we will fix it within five days. If it is smaller and less of a hazard, we will fix it within 21 days
  • We mark up the potholes in different ways, those repaired in five days are not marked as our repair is immediate, yellow means we will repair it within 21 days. We always aim to fix potholes within five and 21 days depending on their level of priority
  • We aim to fix emergency faults as soon as possible, always within five days
  • We always aim to repair potholes with a permanent fix first time. However, this depends on the weather – if it’s wet or has been raining we sometimes have to make temporary fixes to keep people safe and moving as the road conditions are too wet for permanent repairs. Permanent fixes will then be programmed in and delivered when the weather allows
  • The total amount of money we have specifically to fix potholes is £2.2m – this is part of a larger highway maintenance budget (which includes planned maintenance, patching, drain clearing etc) which is around £30million per year for maintenance of 4,500km of road. The average cost of fixing a pothole is £42
  • The dragon patcher is a specialist machine, nicknamed the ‘dragon’ because it fires out flames to dry out the road surface, it is then cleaned with compressed air and sealed with a stone mix and hot bitumen. It is much quicker and simpler compared to traditional methods.