Nottinghamshire County Council unveils plan to sort out broken roads

Nottinghamshire County Council will move more towards permanent road replacement repairs rather than filling in pot holes as part of its plan to improve how it fixes roads.

By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 9:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 9:32 am

It comes as the authority reveals the outcome of its cross-party highways panel.

The body was set up in the spring by the Conservative administration to combat what it described as “the biggest issue on the doorstep” in May’s election.

The council has been criticised in the past for the state of the county’s roads, with more than 476,000 repairs conducted countywide in the past five years.

Nottinghamshire County Council has unveiled new plans to fix its roads.

The panel brought in independent consultant WSP and sought a review from the Local Government Association to look at how it currently operates and find ways to improve.

It also spoke with other councils to see how they work and whether any methods could be used in Nottinghamshire.

The panel, with representatives from all political parties, agreed on the recommendations from its meetings and will present a report next week.

One of the biggest criticisms of the council’s pothole repairs at present is the same location can end up being repaired on several occasions, but now the council wants to shift its focus and improve on its repair methods.

WSP found the council will still need to continue its Viafix treatments – a form of cold asphalt repair which fills in specific holes – to ‘protect the safety of road users’, but said the authority should be using other forms of repair which replace whole stretches of road where possible, with documents revealing plans to use new technology and invest in equipment to improve the quality of repairs.

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Right repair

Councillor Neil Clarke, council transport and environment committee chairman, said: “We want to move to a right repair on the first time around, so we will be looking at long-term, permanent repairs as much as possible rather than short-term, quick fixes.

“We won’t be able to eliminate that entirely, but we want to get to a point where members of the public can see their roads are being properly repaired.

“It’s the unclassified roads, the side roads, that generally cause comment and we want to emphasise far more on these.”

The authority will also be moving from a one-year to a three-year programme of highways investment.

The existing one-year system was found to be a ‘barrier to long term planning’, with Coun Clarke hoping a three-year model will give residents more ‘certainty’ on when their road will be repaired.

He said: “If we can tell them when their road is going to be repaired, even if it’s six or nine months down the line, at least they know. It gives them certainty and will hopefully satisfy them.”

Coun Clarke said the council will work closely with utility companies – which regularly conduct gas or waterpipe roadworks – to ensure work is done to a high standard and roads are ‘reinstated in a good condition’.

The plan is due to be reviewed by the committee on November 17.