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Feature: Royal Borough pothole pledge launches

Potholes. Those dreaded blots on UK roads which have become the bane of car suspensions and a major hazard for cyclists.

They are one of the key issues reported to councils up and down the country, providing a nuisance for all types of road user.

But the Royal Borough – together with contractor Volker Highways – says it will now have ‘some of the quickest response times for fixing potholes in Berkshire and beyond’ with its new ‘24 working hour’ pothole fix pledge.

Potholes need to have to meet certain criteria in order to be dealt with during this time frame, with those reported on roads needing to be more than 40mm deep, and on footways, deeper than 25mm.

This is regardless of which type of road or path they are located on.

The pothole fixing team kitted out

This means potholes that meet this criteria that are reported after 5pm on a Friday, will be repaired by 9am the following Tuesday.

Previously, only potholes over 40mm deep on high speed or strategic routes or potholes over 25mm in town centre locations had to be fixed within 24 hours.

Potholes that do not meet the criteria will be repaired within the current time frame depending on their size or location.

Cllr Andrew Johnson (Con, Hurley and Walthams) the council’s lead member for transport policy, was out with the Volker team on Monday for their first reported pothole under the new scheme.

A team set off from Volker’s base – Tinkers Lane in Windsor – armed with cones, tools, and a lot of asphalt.

They inspected a crater in Farm Road, Maidenhead, on a route regularly used by parents on the Newlands Girls’ School run and repaired it.

The team starts work in Farm Road

“We promised our residents that we would do everything we could to improve highways across our borough and we have worked hard to introduce this flagship policy less than six months into the new municipal year,” Cllr Johnson said.

The council added that ‘where there is a clear need for a road to undergo a more time-consuming repair, such as resurfacing, the pothole repair will be completed as part of that scheme of work to prevent duplication of work and reduce inconvenience to motorists’.

“There is always more work to do but I think we are making real progress in terms of delivering on our commitments to residents,” Cllr Johnson added.

“We have clearly set an ambitious target, 24 working hours – we are one of the first in the country to do so.

“It is not just about improving the roads for motorists, it’s about cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, everybody.”

Residents are being encouraged to report potholes online via the Royal Borough’s website – www.rbwm.gov.uk

Cllr Johnson gets stuck in

Five steps to fixing borough's holes

You’ve seen them, you’ve driven through them, you probably hate them.

But do you know how potholes are fixed?

Here’s a handy guide:

  •  First, the Volker Highways team drives from its base in Windsor to wherever the pothole is located, setting out traffic management (cones, signs) to make sure it is safe for other road users.

  •  A square is then cut around the hole using a handy tool called a Cobra Breaker, which breaks through the surface of the road, before odd and uneven asphalt is drilled away.

  •  The team then fill the hole with new asphalt, before using a simple household brush to sweep the surface and make it neat.

  • They then flatten the surface and harden it out before brushing up any excess asphalt.

  • The team removes the traffic management, and is off to the next one.

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