Council on track to clear Northumberland’s pothole backlog

Northumberland County Council says it is reducing the pothole backlog.
Northumberland County Council says it is reducing the pothole backlog.

The backlog of potholes in Northumberland has been reduced by 71 per cent since the end of January, Northumberland County Council has said.

And the authority claims that it is on track to clear the backlog completely by the end of this month.

The latest data shows that at the end of May, the county council had achieved a total pothole reduction of 8,676 out of 12,213, with 3,537 still outstanding.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment, said: “We are on track to fulfil our pledge to clear this backlog of potholes by the end of June. We have taken a proactive approach to pothole repair and we are doing more long term repairs instead of temporary patches.”

An extra £600,000 has been allocated to accelerate the programme of pothole repairs across the county.

Residents can now follow the progress in clearing the pothole backlog on a monthly basis on the Northumberland County Council website.

Like many local authorities, the county council has to deal with the deterioration of its road network through a combination of severe winters with unusually wet weather, and long-term underinvestment.

This has led to a substantial increase in the number of potholes over the past five years. For example, between November 2012 and December 2013 alone, there were 68,000 defects in the county’s roads and footpaths.

The county council says that in the last seven months it has managed to reduce the backlog of potholes through investment in new methods and machinery, including the purchase of two Jetpatcher repair machines and the use of two additional road menders.

Roads are maintained by maintenance teams based in the community who repair defects and carry out small works and drainage improvements.

The authority has a team operating within each of the 14 inspection areas - there are four teams in the north, four teams in the west and six teams in the south-east.

The new funding will provide the area inspectors with additional short-term capacity to speed up repairs and ensure that rural communities, in particular, benefit from the programme.

The funding will be used to enable the Jetpatchers to operate longer hours and employ additional labour. The team will continue to manage any new defects that appear from now and throughout 2014.