The winter months are a challenging time for roads authorities across the UK as our roads suffer the effects of snow, ice and heavy rain. And this year is no exception as the number of reported potholes reaches unprecedented levels. (Yes, contrary to recent media reports, we’re not denying this – we also drive these roads.)
Only a few weeks ago, when much of the country was under a blanket of snow and ice, Ayrshire Roads Alliance worked round the clock to keep our main roads clear.
The Alliance runs a 24-hour standby service during the winter months.
A direct consequence of last month’s severe weather has been the significant deterioration of the quality of our road surfaces. As temperatures start to rise the Alliance shifts its attention from winter maintenance to road repairs – ever mindful that repairs cannot be carried out when the road surface temperature is below zero degrees or during periods of snow and ice weather predictions.
However, we remain vigilant as we continue to receive severe weather alerts on a daily basis and these will affect how and where we allocate resources.
Pothole complaints for January 2018 were up by 15% from 2017 and we carried out 2711 safety inspections in January alone.
Complaints received by social media take longer to process as the information is often incomplete. The quickest way to log your complaint is to use the website to report a pothole or contact the out of hours numbers for urgent repairs.
In some cases, where the damage in an area is significant, it may be more appropriate to screed a whole section of road rather than just a single pothole.
Over the past week, we have repaired numerous potholes and lengths of road at various locations throughout the network using approximately 120 tonnes of bituminous material.
Whether gritting roads or repairing potholes, the Alliance must comply with drivers’ hours directives – to protect the workforce and the travelling public. This year, the Alliance secured additional support from contractors to help meet the demand, both for road maintenance and repairs – to ensure the service continued round the clock in times of need.
How do we handle your pothole complaints?
We have highly trained inspectors who respond to the pothole reports made by local residents and they monitor the road network daily.
We operate a four-tier reporting system for potholes which determines how quickly we carry out the repairs. Our inspectors will visit the location and assign the pothole a category – based on the size, depth and location of the pothole.
A category one pothole is considered a threat to life and limb and we will respond within a two-hour timescale. A category two has a five working day response time while category three is 10 working days and category four is 28 working days.
We continually monitor the condition of all potholes, to ensure that they don’t deteriorate further before being repaired. If a pothole deteriorates, it will be re-categorised and escalated for repair.
In the near future changes will be made to the way our inspectors receive pothole reports. The team will be provided with mobile devices and when a report is made on the website the inspectors will receive notifications in real time. This will allow the team to work remotely and spend more time on the road, speeding up the inspection process.