Hole lot of trouble for road crews to sort out

Potholes on Earsdon Road beside West Monkseaton Metro Station.
Potholes on Earsdon Road beside West Monkseaton Metro Station.

repairs are being carried out on more than 100 potholes reported on borough roads after the recent cold spells.

Engineers are calling on North Tyneside Council to reconsider before pressing ahead with its repair programme, however.

The council has allocated £150,000 to cover the cost of filling in potholes, but the Institution of Civil Engineers North East believes the authority’s approach to the problem is fundamentally flawed.

Stephen Larkin, the institution’s regional director, said: “When a pothole is simply patched up, there is a greater chance of the problem recurring than when a more thorough fixing of the damage is carried out.

“This is because a patch is more likely to allow water to seep in around the edges.”

Potholes are formed after water penetrates the asphalt surface through cracks caused by traffic.

When temperatures plunge, the water freezes, expands and causes the surface to rupture, so when the ice melts, it leaves a gap below the surface.

Mr Larkin added: “We need to act quickly under these conditions to avoid repeat problems and reduce costs for having to fix the roads.

“Transport infrastructure is far too valuable to the north east economy to simply shrug our shoulders and say we can’t afford to be prepared.”

Since December 10, the council has had reports of 104 potholes.

Its engineering services team has been busy investigating the complaints and organising any repairs needed over the intervening weeks.

Two dedicated pothole repair gangs are working to repair any damage, and since the last round of snow and ice melted, five highways inspectors have been looking for road defects that need attention.

Coun Ed Hodson, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “This is a national problem created by some of the worst weather conditions ever in the country, and we are taking it very seriously in North Tyneside.

“We have received some reports from the public about potholes they consider a concern.

“However, we are also being proactive, and our inspectors are currently inspecting all parts of the borough to ensure our roads and pavements are kept safe for motorists and pedestrians.

“We have allocated £150,000 to carry out the minor patching and resurfacing works needed over the next three months.

“There may be some instances where we need to consider longer-term solutions, and these will be considered as part of our annual highways programme of work.”

Last winter’s severe weather led to more than 7,000 potholes being repaired.

Anyone who wants to report a pothole can do so via www.northtyneside.gov.uk, email highways.environment@northtyneside.gov.uk or by calling (0191) 643 6130.