Nearly 10,000 potholes and road defects 'repaired' across Shropshire during lockdown
Nearly 10,000 potholes and other road defects have been fixed during lockdown in Shropshire as workers take advantage of quieter roads.
Two-person pothole gangs have completed a total of 9,907 highway tasks between March 23 and June 1, as well as a further 25,820 inspections, according to Shropshire Council.
Workers have used Texpatching, thermal patching and jet patching to try and deliver more permanent solutions to damaged roads. Texpatching involves the pothole being cleaned out, filled with a unique material called Texpatch, then covered with a neat, square patch.
It provides a longer-lasting, smoother, neater finish compared to traditional pothole repairs, and seals up all joints, which should result in an increased life span for the repair.
Potholes have been a major issue in the county and repairs have been badly needed in several areas. Heavy rain and flooding during the winter caused a lot of repaired potholes to crumble.
It left Bridgnorth's roads looking "like tank traps" according to town councillor Helen Howell, and one pothole on the A458 at Stanmore left at least 20 cars damaged last December.
Shifnal has also had big problems, which were described as "a risk to life" by one resident.
- Shropshire Council hires £1,000-a-day highways consultant for six months in war on potholes
- Range Rover abandoned on wrong side of pothole-ridden Shifnal road as protest
- Shifnal potholes 'are a risk to life' as residents demand action
- Councillor likens Bridgnorth potholes to tank traps for stopping Nazis
It prompted Shropshire Council to hire a £1,000 a day potholes guru to try and get a grip on the problem once and for all.
In May, transport secretary Grant Shapps announced a multi-billion pound infrastructure package to upgrade the country's roads and rail networks during lockdown, £11.6m of which was given to Shropshire Council to tackle potholes.
Mr Shapps said the government had been “accelerating infrastructure upgrades” to the benefit of those who are starting to begin commuting again as society is gradually reopened.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak had previously announced that £2.5bn would be delivered over five years to tackle deteriorating local roads, and fill in potholes across the country.
Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The main explanation for the problems we've had is that we had one of the coldest winters followed by one of the wettest. That didn't help at all with pothole repairs. We can't repair roads while it's wet and cold."
He added: “During the pandemic we’ve made some changes to our highways maintenance work. We’re prioritising essential repairs, such as potholes and pavement defects, to ensure that the county’s roads remain safe and serviceable.
"We fully understand the frustrations of our residents concerning the number of potholes which have occurred on our roads this winter.
“I am grateful to all the hard work that our highways team and contractors have been undertaking to repair our roads during the coronavirus lockdown and we will continue with this good work."