Update on tests to improve pot hole fixing
Our pot hole tests have been progressing well with over 6000 potholes repaired as part of the tests in the last 12 weeks.
The aim of the testing is to find solutions that are long-lasting and offer value for money.
We are also looking at pothole repair methods that can make the process quicker, and are suitable for roads and highways in both the rural and urban areas.
What tests have we done?
All repairs are being compared with the traditional method: Saw cutting a rectangle around the hole and then picking out defective material before filling it with hot bitumen.
This is a method works well with smaller holes has sometimes been less effective on larger areas, so the team have had to go back again. The process is also slower than some of the new methods being explored as part of the tests.
The first test has been to cut out a diamond shape around the hole instead of a rectangle. Other councils have suggested that this shape leads to a longer lasting repair.
Two new hole filling materials have also been tested: Sharp Asphalt and Cold Bitumen. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages.
The findings so far indicate that using Sharp Asphalt is a quicker, cleaner and less disruptive and allows more holes to be filled in a shorter space of time. This is because there is no need to cut out the areas before filling. It also makes it easier to fill the long thin strips of road that break away where the road surface joints fail along the middle of the road. However this process is more labour intensive and doesn’t guarantee a smooth surface for driving on.
Cold bitumen is a relatively new material so there isn’t any existing data on how well it wears long term. The council are using the traditional cutting out method to prepare the surface, but because the bitumen is cold it’s safer to use. It can also be stored and used over several days resulting in less time travelling and less waste material.
The council has also carried out tests with two new pieces of equipment for repairing the holes, the Velocity Jet Patching machine and a Multihog.
Velocity Jet Patching machine allows for lots of holes that are close together to be filled quickly, but it is very disruptive for traffic and residents due to noise, mess and the space the equipment needs. The repairs can’t be carried out in poor weather conditions.
Using the Multi hog, to excavate holes to a neat square before filling, isn’t as quick as jet patching as you still need a team to fill the hole once it has been prepared. But the process is still quick and causes less disruption and seems to leave a higher quality finish.
Detailed evaluation of the tests is ongoing and no decisions on future repair methods will be made until the Spring, when the repairs have been subjected to the British winter weather and plenty of traffic to see how well they have performed.
Thoughts from Councillor Khan
Cllr Musarrat Khan, cabinet Member for Highways and Neighbourhoods said:
“Kirklees Council is one the first Local Authorities to lead in the use of these new cost effective and innovative techniques. We believe that this testing will help us make sure we fill as many potholes as we can, to the highest standard, using the best possible materials for the job.
“Our Council faces huge challenges ahead in terms of maintaining our roads due to the allocation of government resources. Weather conditions, terrain and topography are not factored in the funding allocation process, leaving councils like ours with a greater need but less money to meet this need.”