Number of potholes massively decreases in Devon

The number of pot holes in Devon has fallen by more than half in 12 months. Pictures: Archant

The number of pot holes in Devon has fallen by more than half in 12 months. Pictures: Archant - Credit: Archant

The number of potholes on Devon’s roads has dramatically fallen, halving in the last 12 months, according to the county council.

The average number of recorded potholes for each month between April and August 2018 was 9,667, 6,284, 5,096, 5,021 and 4,385.

In 2019 the numbers more than halved, with 3,608, 3,089, 3,253, 2,260, and 1,826 potholes recorded respectively for each month.

The figures for 2019 are also well down on the average number of recorded potholes since 2016.

Speaking at the corporate, infrastructure and regulatory services scrutiny committee meeting on Thursday, September 26, Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways, welcomed the reduction.

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In a report, Meg Booth, chief officer for highways, infrastructure development and waste, said: "The numbers of potholes recorded in 2019 are all below the average figures recorded since 2016 and well below the like-for-like figures recorded in 2018. It is hoped that we are beginning to see the benefits of the public interface portal triage process that has been county wide since June."

The new process, which sees a visual inspection of a report of a pothole carried out within three days of a report, before the information is passed over to Skanska for repairs, has seen a significant increase in their productivity.

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Workers are now fixing 97 per cent of all the defects they attend first time, compared to a figure of 68 per cent recorded in June 2018.

A trial took place last year in East Devon and Mid Devon and has been rolled out across the county.

The report states that the Dragon Patcher, which has been operational for the last 12 months, has repaired 490 safety defects and a further 2,572 serviceability defects, preventing them becoming a safety defect.

The Dragon Patcher - so called because it uses flames to dry out potholes in cold or wet weather - dries out the road then cleans the surface with compressed air and seals the pothole with a stone mix and hot bitumen emulsion. Over the summer, a second machine was mobilised to take advantage of the weather. Repairs should last for at least three years.

The report said Skanska's performance relating to the management of insurance claims is much improved, with only five outstanding claims at the start of September, down from an all-time high of approximately 90.

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