05:00PM, Saturday 08 June 2019
Plans to repair all reported potholes in the Royal Borough within 24 hours were discussed and approved at a cabinet meeting last week.
Under the current highways maintenance management plan only certain potholes require a repair within two or 24 hours.
These include defects over 40mm on a high speed or strategic route and those measuring 25mm in a town centre or footways with high footfalls.
The lead member for infrastructure, transport policy and housing, Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams) presented an extension to the existing highways policy at cabinet on Thursday.
It will ‘enable every carriageway pothole over 40mm, or footway defect over 25mm to be repaired within 24 working hours regardless of the category of road’.
The change to the policy is due to launch on September 1.
Potholes which meet the criteria and are reported after 5pm on a Friday will be repaired by 9am the following Tuesday.
Cllr Johnson added a ‘very important caveat’ about the policy, which would be in place ‘unless it is deemed by a highways inspector that the level of intervention is such that we would be looking to do something more comprehensive’.
An example of this would be a stretch of road which had multiple potholes. In this case it would be ‘far better to do something more long term’ such as resurfacing.
During their election campaign the Conservative party committed to spending more than £50million on the Royal Borough’s highways and pavements over the next four years.
Changing the policy will require a change to the contract with VolkerHighways, which will be at an additional annual cost of £450,000.
Another commitment is to introduce ‘an inspection regime for every road every year’.
At the meeting Cllr Johnson described potholes as a ‘major issue’ for vulnerable users including cyclists and motorcyclists.
He said: “Potholes is one of the key concerns of residents, it’s something that they have elected us to rectify.”
Cllr Johnson said the scheme will give ‘best value to the taxpayer’ and enable the council to deliver a road network that will ‘be the best in Berkshire and the best in the South East’.
At the meeting, opposition councillor Geoff Hill (The Borough First, Oldfield) estimated the £450,000 would be spent on fixing ‘probably an extra 500 potholes depending on how the year pans out’.
He said: “Why are we putting in so much because that seems like a lot of money, particularly when the finances are running at £350,000 over budget month on month?”
Council leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside) said: “I think the answer to that is, probably, this is reported potholes, as opposed to actual potholes, so I think you’ll find the situation that there may actually be more potholes in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead than those that are reported.
“I think inevitably, if this is a successful policy there will probably be a hump in the number of potholes as this will encourage residents to come forward to report potholes.”
He added: “Let’s be clear what our mission is here, to have the best possible roads in the country in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, that’s what we want for our residents, that is the benchmark we are setting for ourselves.”
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