East Devon trial rolled out across county after dramatic reduction in pot holes

The number of pot holes on Devon’s roads has dramatically reduced over the past 12 months – thanks to a process trialled in East Devon.

Figures presented before councillors last week shown that in 2018, the average number of Recorded Potholes for each month between April and August was 9,667, 6,284, 5,096, 5,021 and 4,385.

However, the 2019 figures show that the numbers of recorded potholes have more than halved, with 3,608, 3,089, 3,253, 2,260, and 1,826 potholes recorded respectively for each month.

The figures for 2019 are also well down on the average number of recorded potholes since 2016.

Speaking at last Thursday’s Corporate, Infrastructure and Regulatory Services Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways, said that the reduction in potholes was good news.

The report of Meg Booth, Chief Officer for Highways, Infrastructure Development and Waste, added: “The numbers of potholes recorded in 2019 are all below the average figures recorded since 2016 and well below the like-for-like figures recorded in 2018. It is hoped that we are beginning to see the benefits of the Public Interface Portal triage process that has been county wide since June.”

The new process, which sees a visual inspection of a report of a pothole carried out within three days of a report, before the information is passed over to Skanska for repairs, has seen a significant increase in their productivity.

Gangs are now fixing 97 per cent of all the defects they attend first time, compared to a figure of 68 per cent recorded in June 2018 which was in advance of the trial.

A trial took place last year in East Devon and Mid Devon but has now been rolled out across the county.

The report also outlines that the ‘Dragon Patcher’, which has been operational for the last 12 months, has repaired 490 safety defects and a further 2,572 serviceability defects, preventing them becoming a safety defect.

The Dragon Patcher – so called because it uses flames to dry out potholes in cold or wet weather – dries out the road then cleans the surface with compressed air and seals the pothole with a stone mix and hot bitumen emulsion. Over the summer period a second machine was mobilised to take advantage of the better weather and repairs should last for at least three years.

Her report also added that Skanska’s performance relating to the management of insurance claims is much improved, with only five outstanding claims at the beginning of September, down from an all-time high of approximately 90.

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