New process to fix highway faults in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire County Council has put forward a new approach to the way highways faults including potholes are assessed.

The process, currently on trial across the county, means that when a pothole or similar highways fault is reported an engineer from the council’s highways contractor, Ringway, visits the site to inspect and ‘triage’ what has been reported. Previously, a full maintenance crew attended dependent on how the fault had been reported by the public.

Currently all public reported faults are automatically allocated repair priority in accordance with the council’s defect management approach. With a Ringway engineer inspecting these reports, it will allow these issues to be correctly assessed and allocated the correct repair and priority. According to the council, this new approach will enable significant funding to be reallocated from reactive to planned repair works, achieving better value for money for the residents of Hertfordshire.

This new approach is due to discussed at the council’s Highways Panel this week.

Terry Douris, cabinet member for highways, said: “We always strive to improve the service for Hertfordshire residents and we believe this new approach will provide better value for money overall. This is a busy service with over 55,000 reactive road maintenance repair jobs a year with around 6,000 of these requiring an emergency response. This new process will enable us to prioritise what work needs attention and better plan the intervention required. It will also allow us to better inform our customers what we are doing with the problem they reported.”

Kevin Carrol, Ringway divisional manager, added: “We are always keen to work with the council to improve the highways service. Three years into the service has shown that where highways faults are reported by the general public, they sometimes get classified as needing a repair but when our teams arrive on site, the defect falls below the required intervention levels. This new approach will allow us to more easily identify those faults that truly need a short-term repair and those that can be completed at a later date.”

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Comments

It is false economy. It would be better to triage from the basis of community reports or traffic volumes. By the time someone has visited a fault much of the cost has been incurred. Some quick patching makes sense particularly as the holes will only get bigger – with potholes it is a case of a stitch in time saves nine. Large holes also lead to claims. The cost of the new approach to inspection visits has to be paid for somehow and will mean that fewer potholes are filled in. What A&E would turn away a bleeding patient until they needed a transfusion?