30/04/2013 Leave a comment
Before I stood for election the first time in 2006 I asked a number of Councillor I knew what did the job entail and every one of them said err……Potholes!
At first I took this as tongue in cheek comment but no it was indeed a serious comment, over the past 7 years Potholes has been the number one issue of concern residents raise with me. I have attended meetings where the nature and formation of potholes have been discussed, I have seen videos of what of how best to repair a pothole and countless meetings to discuss the financing and strategy of pothole repairs.
Of course anyone who drives a car know to avoid them and occasionally when you miss seeing one, it does shudder through the cars suspension, or worse from punctures to cracked wheels.
Equally, I think it is a very visible manifestation of county council spend. Unlike say adult social care which is provided in each of our communities on a very discreet basis. Quite rightly, carers do not arrive with a big van and sign on the side here to help get Mrs. Smith out of bed in the morning, or here to help Mr. Jones eat his lunch. Of the £500Million, that the county council spends on non-school costs in the county, £160Million of that goes on providing support to the vulnerable adult residents of Suffolk.
Of course, there are some myths about potholes, chief amongst them being the one that if you maintained the roads properly potholes would not happen. Tarmac is a mixture of stone and tar and it moves, the tramlines of a motorway in the inside lane is an indicator of that and as with anything that moves through pressure, use, heat or the cold cracks do appear, water gets in and in the winter it freezes expands and breaks the bond and a potholes starts. This we cannot stop but we can have a strategy and allocate appropriate resources. One of my local priories is to see pothole repaired faster, better.
Faster: I am supporting the roll out of a Suffolk wide phone app that through your smart phone’s GPS and camera you will simply be able to take a snap of the pothole or any other problem such as fly tipping and then ping it to the appropriate department for logging and action. Where this is being implemented elsewhere in the country council employees are also able to use the same technology so as they go about their substantive role they are almost like mobile patrols.
Better: Firstly in the winter the pothole repair crews are the grittier drivers who so such sterling job of keeping us moving on gritted roads. When they have the time they come to make a temporary repair to a pothole with a cold tarmac product drop it in and giving it a levelling whack and move on to the next, a quick but temporary solution.
Once gritting stops the crews firstly tackling any back log of temporary repairs and then set about going back to those temporary repairs to make permanent by digging out, cutting back a bigger square to beyond the water penetration, then filling and sealing using hot tarmac, Suffolk Conservatives are spending more money on this programme.
In short repairing potholes faster, better.