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When do we repair a pothole?

PLEASE NOTE: the authority does not maintain the trunk road – A470, A4060 and A465 (Heads of the Valleys Road). These roads are the responsibility of the South Wales Trunk Road Agent and should be reported directly to them on telephone 0300 123 1213

Our actionable potholes routinely fall into one of the following categories:

Emergency Defects

These are risk assessed and any considered to be an immediate danger to life or limb are made safe within a 24hr period and arrangements made for a permanent repair at a later date if required.

Routine Repair

The works order is assigned to the operational team where the works is programmed and completed within a reasonable timescale with the appropriate resources that are available.  There are occasions where temporary repairs are made to keep the road surface safe, with a permanent repair following at a later date. This usually forms part of a programme of similar work, thus ensuring cost effectiveness and reducing third party claims.

A highway repair crew would then arrive on site and remove the surface and base layers, replacing it with the appropriate asphalt. The defect is then repaired within a reasonable timescale of the highways inspector’s initial visit, and checked for quality and compliance by the highway inspector.

Unfortunately, the available budgets for highway maintenance do not permit us to aim to repair every defect that arises. As a result, prioritisation is therefore an essential element of everything that we do and in this respect we must necessarily have regard to established case-law, to national guidelines and local policies that apply specifically within Merthyr Tydfil to properly assess and prioritise each and every safety defect that arises.

The effect of all these is to concentrate the need for repair very much upon the extent of the safety defect concerned and on the potential hazard that it represents. In the specific case of potholes therefore, our assessment and prioritisation for repair must take regard not only of the size and depth of the pothole but also of its specific location in the highway and the overall potential risk that it represents.

A few very simple and straightforward demonstration of how this prioritisation works in practice would be as follows:

  • A pothole which appeared in a highly trafficked road would attract greater urgency than it would if it appeared in a much lighter trafficked residential road;
  • A pothole in a carriageway but located at an expected pedestrian crossing point (e.g. at a pedestrian crossing or at a road junction where pedestrians would normally be crossing), would attract greater urgency than it would if located elsewhere in the road.
  • A pothole located in the normal wheel-track of passing traffic would attract greater urgency than it would in another part of the road where vehicles are less likely to come into direct contact with it.

This is by no means intended to represent an exhaustive list of the different considerations that must be made however, and many other factors might also be relevant in different locations.

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