Pothole repair performance dips on some Lancashire routes

There are targets for how long it takes to fill different potholes on different classes of road.
There are targets for how long it takes to fill different potholes on different classes of road.
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One in five less severe potholes on major routes in Lancashire is not being filled within a target response time, councillors have heard.

Lancashire County Council aims to fix 90 percent of non-urgent faults on main roads within five working days, but between October and December last year, it only managed that in 80 percent of cases.

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However, a target to tackle 95 percent of the most dangerous defects within four hours was met, as was an overall ambition to treat nine in ten potholes eligible for repair on any classification of road within 20 working days.

Cabinet members were told that delays had been caused by the difficulty in putting the necessary arrangements in place to control traffic while the holes are filled.

“Many 5-day defects require expensive traffic management, due to the road type and location,” Donna Talbot, head of the authority’s business intelligence department, said.

“We have renegotiated contracts to make sure we’ve got improved [systems] in place – and we have also got regular meetings with the highways safety inspector to co-ordinate work.”

Cabinet member for highways, Keith Iddon, added that the council had decided to publish a full breakdown of the repair rates – rather than just the 20-day target as it had done previously – in order to “be more accountable”.

“We are improving our performance and I’m confident that we’ll make the grade. And I’m pleased with that, because [the new targets introduced last year] were a big ask,” County Cllr Iddon said at a meeting of the authority’s performance committee.

Members heard that a target response time of two days for repairs which are urgent – but fall short of an emergency – had also slipped, with 87 percent of repairs completed within the timeframe compared to the recommended 95 percent. This measure was missed partly due to how a new IT system registered exactly when workers had fixed the fault, the committee heard.

The new targets put in place last year introduced revised repair times depending on the seriousness of the defect and the road on which it had appeared. The council allows highways staff two days to assess a reported fault before the repair clock starts ticking.

County Cllr Iddon also told fellow cabinet members that the full rollout of LED streetlights in Lancashire should halve the response time for replacing spent bulbs – because the new technology means they will need changing much less often.

There are 38,000 lamp-posts left in the county which are still operating with old-style yellow hallogen bulbs – but almost 90,000 have already been converted as part of a programme which began in 2014.

In the final quarter of 2018, it took an average of seven days to repair streetlight faults, against the council’s target of five working days.

POTHOLE PERFORMANCE TARGETS

Any defect classed as an emergency – 4 hours

Pothole over 100m depth (any road) – 2 working days

Pothole 40-100mm depth:

primary routes , including A-roads – 5 working days

secondary routes, including B roads – 10 working days

local access roads – 20 working days

All response targets except those for emergency repairs allow an additional 2 days’ assessment time.