New council pothole strategy pays-off

Northamptonshire County Council has seen a dramatic drop in insurance claims since it overhauled its pothole strategy.

In April 2010, County Hall introduced a new Highways Maintenance Initiative (NHMI) to deal with potholes on a “whole life cost” basis rather than react to to worst defects.

A report before the county council’s Cabinet shows the condition of some areas of the road network has improved dramatically following the change in strategy.

A report in the Northampton Chronicle stated that 97 per cent of all permanent or semi-permanent repairs were carried out in the year to April 2012, compared with 90 per cent in the first year of NHMI and 45 per cent in the the pre-NHMI period, leading to less repeat visits to repair sites.

Pre-NHMI there were 880 claims in the 12 months leading up to the switch and 465 in 2010-11 – a 47 per cent drop – followed by a further 53 per cent fall in 2011-12, to 217.

In 2009-10, the county council treated 138,000 sq metres of road surface, a figure that leapt by 46 per cent the following year and by 24 per cent in 2011-12.

Tony Ciaburro, director of environment and transport at County Hall, said the authority had performed well, but urged caution.

He said: “Despite the success of NHMI, there are still many roads that have gone beyond the point where preventative type treatments are effective and these will require significant investment.”

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