Northumberland councillor reveals frustration at pothole repairs policy

An Alnwick councillor has expressed his frustration at pothole repairs breaking up within weeks.

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 6:00 am

Coun Martin Harrington raised the issue with Paul Jones, local services director at Northumberland County Council, at a meeting of Alnwick Town Council.

“The potholes do get fixed but it’s soul-destroying to find, a week or two after the hole has been repaired, that it just comes straight out,” said Coun Harrington.

“You don’t have to have great sense to fathom out that if you’ve got to keep repairing that hole because it’s not done to a suitable standard it’s always going to be a problem.”

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Potholes on the road that runs from the East Thornton junction to the main road into Netherwitton.

He identified the underpass beneath the A1 leading towards the Lionheart Enterprise Park as a particular problem area.

Mr Jones responded: “It is something we are very conscious of. We do try and undertake permanent repairs whenever possible, with cutting out, overlaying and a permanent patch repair. Depending on the road structure, some of that has to be an overlay because there is nothing underneath it.

“We also have to bear in mind, and the location you describe is a good example of that, is that it’s a high risk site with a high volume of traffic on it. If we’re notified or see a dangerous defect we have set timescales where we have to both inspect and undertake repairs.

“In a location such as that, if we’ve not repaired it within that time frame, even as a temporary repair, and somebody comes a cropper on it then we are liable for an insurance claim against us. So, in those situations you have to undertake temporary repairs. You have to make it safe.

A pothole prone area of Alnwick. Picture: Google

“Some of those temporary repairs will last a significant period of time, anything from several months to a couple of years, but we do try to go back and schedule in permanent repairs.

“That location described is problematic in that there are further works going on there to widen it and put in a right turn pocket as part of the McDonald’s scheme and that’s something that is going through design. We can’t extend the road because it goes under the underpass and Highways England won’t allow us to do anything outwith the existing structure.”