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UK wants longer-lasting repairs to prevent potholes

The Department for Transport (DfT) in the UK is considering measures that would keep roads pothole-free for longer.

It is considering holding companies that repair roads to account for longer, extending warranties from two years to five years. This would mean that if a pothole forms within five years of roadworks, the utility company will have to return to restore the road surface to its original state.

Their Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said, ‘Potholes are the biggest enemy for road users and this government is looking at all options to keep our roads in the best condition. Road surfaces can be made worse by utility companies, so imposing higher standards on repairs will help keep roads pothole-free for longer.’

The DfT is hosting a new consultation, which will last eight weeks, follows a number of other interventions by the government to help improve road surfaces:

– In January, the DfT announced real-world tests of new road surfaces and technologies in eight areas to see which emerging innovations provide long-term solutions to improve journeys. The £22.9m (US$30m) Live Labs projects will be delivered by councils and if successful, could be adopted by other authorities;

– Last February, the DfT announced councils across England could introduce Lane Rental schemes, where utility companies are charged up to £2,500 (US$3,280) a day to dig up busy roads, to reduce the duration of roadworks and speed up traffic;

– The government is also investing up to £10m (US$13m) in the new ‘Street Manager’ digital service that should enable motorists to plan their journeys better, so they can avoid roadworks.

The consultation period will include examining the use of new innovative surfacing, such as asphalt with a high bitumen content that is easier to compact to the required density. This makes it less prone to potholing.