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Calls for pothole cash
HEREFORDSHIRE Council has asked for government help as it counts the cost of the Herefordshire’s severely damaged roads.
The wet weather has caused havoc to highways, with more potholes adding to the thousands of problem spots already being fixed by contractors Balfour Beatty since September.
The estimated cost to repair the flood-damaged roads is £2.85 million.
Herefordshire council has made a claim under the government’s Bellwin scheme as it tries to find a way to fix the problems.
The scheme is an emergency fund that the government can distribute to local authorities that are in urgent need of help following bouts of bad weather.
A £20 million investment has already been earmarked by the council to undertake long-term repairs to the county’s roads, but the local authority claims the extra money will be used to “raise the standard of carriageway condition” and will not be used to fix potholes or any other defects.
Despite 27 teams being out on the streets carrying out reactive and routine repairs, the council and its contractors have come in for criticism for the way that potholes are dealt with and how they reappear.
Brian O’Donaghue, who has repaired roads during his time in the army, was one critic.
He said: “All Balfour Beatty seems to be is doing is throwing tarmac in the potholes. You have to repair the damage and cut a whole square of the pothole to get to a good tarmac.
“A top coat is more resilient and water resistant, but the potholes have to be repaired properly.”
Currently, Balfour Beatty has five mobile units and allocated trucks to carry out repairs, while velocity patchers are used for quick repairs to multiple defects on minor roads.
But, potholes can still reappear when a road is subject to a lot of water — as has been the case during recent months.
And it’s not just motorists who have been feeling the ill effects of the state of the roads.
Three-year-old Lacey-Mae Gullis needed stitches near her eye after she fell crossing Hunderton Road — her mum has blamed a poor road surface.
Mum Claire Harris took her daughter to the nearby walk-in clinic at Asda where Lacie-Mae received stitches. Ms Harris has reported the problem and wants more done to improve the roads.
Balfour Beatty categorises each pothole on its own merits, with category one potholes having to be repaired within 24 hours and category two within 28 days.
However, Chris Howell, construction manager at Balfour Beatty, said that repairs will only be undertaken if the weather is suitable.
“We have had a lot of problems with flooding and have had to clean gullies and repair bridges,”
“There are more than 2,000 miles of roads in Herefordshire and January was the second wettest month on record.
“We also have a lot of agricultural vehicles chewing up unclassified roads and have problems with mud.
“We do get a lot of criticism and have to get the balance right in how we prioritise roads.” To report a road defect, call 01432 261800 or fill out an online form here.
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