New trial looks to fill potholes in two minutes
An innovative new approach to curing the UK’s pothole epidemic is being trialled by a London council.
London borough of Redbridge is using a new technique called “spray injection patching” to carry out up to 120 road repairs a day.
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This new process involves three-steps. Firstly, pressurised air is pumped into the pothole to remove dirt and debris.
Then the hole is sprayed and coated with cold bitumen to cover and seal any cracks.
It is finally followed by a layer of aggregate applied at high speed.
The entire process – which does not require a road to be closed – takes just a couple of minutes to finish. Vehicles can then pass over the repaired section of the road almost immediately.
Green and black
It’s a process that also proves better for the environment by avoiding the need to excavate the hole or use heat to carry out the repair, meaning there are “minimal carbon emissions”.
Made by road repair specialists Velocity, the spray injection patching machine, has already proved itself by carrying out almost 2,200 pothole repairs during a 12-week trial.
Last month the RAC motoring organisation revealed that eight in 10 drivers nationwide reported having to take sudden evasive action to avoid hitting potholes.
It said anger with the poor state of Britain’s local roads had reached a nine-year peak, with 49% of respondents to its annual report listing it as a top concern.
Some 67% of drivers told the RAC that the condition of the local roads they used had deteriorated in the last 12 months.
Redbridge council leader Jas Athwal said: “Potholes are a nuisance and a danger to road users, and we understand how difficult they can make journeys.
“The spray injection patching machine is helping pave the way and, where suitable we hope to continue using it on our roads, alongside our resurfacing programme and traditional repairs.
“We hope the success of this trial will encourage further use of this low carbon solution to potholes and instil greater confidence and opportunities for active travel on our roads.”
War on motorist
At the Tory party conference in September, the Government promised action on potholes. This was part of its so called ending of the “war on the motorist”. It followed a relaxing the banning of petrol and diesel from 2030, moving this to 2035 instead.
Alongside this, the government announced support for councils to introduce more lane rental schemes. This is where utility companies are required to pay to dig up the busiest roads at peak times. At least half of the extra money raised from these fees will go directly towards repairing road surfaces.
Councils say they face ‘huge challenges’ maintaining roads due to a lack of Government funding. The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance report 2023, revealed that local authority highway teams in England and Wales only received around two-thirds of what they needed to stop further deterioration. More than £14 billion – £68,000 for every mile of local road – is now needed to fix the backlog of carriageway repairs.