New machines can fix 60 potholes a day
An innovative method to speed up repairs to potholes is being employed by Lancashire County Council following the damage caused by a particularly cold and wet winter.
Machines using a technique called spray injection patching have recently begun patrolling the county's worst-hit rural roads.
The machines can make an average of 60 repairs a day to all kinds of defects, providing a significant boost to the council's capacity to tackle potholes.
They work by firstly using compressed air to remove all dust, debris and water from the affected area.
Once the road has been cleaned, a cold bitumen emulsion is used to seal the defect. An aggregate mix is then fired in at high speed, with another coating of bitumen emulsion to prevent water from getting in.
While the council's mobile two-man pothole repair teams continue to fix individual defects reported by highway inspectors and members of the public, the spray injection machines are being used in a preventative way to 'find and fix' potholes on rural roads where most problems are occurring.
As well as fixing the deeper potholes, they are also repairing minor areas of damage to prevent potholes appearing in the first place.
County Coun. Andrew Snowden, lead member for highways and transport, said: "The alternating spells of wet followed by cold weather we've had over the winter have created the perfect conditions for potholes to appear.
"Our highway teams have been working in all weathers to fix them, but it has been hard going at times as the wet and icy conditions have made it very difficult to make lasting repairs.
"As the warmer weather arrives and our annual programme of resurfacing begins I hope people will really see the difference as we get on top of the repair backlog and deal with the winter damage.
"One of the ways we're trying to make progress as quickly as possible is by using these spray injection machines which are very efficient and an excellent preventative tool to stop pothole problems from forming in the first place.
"We've already had four of these machines working over recent weeks, and now have six which will be with us until mid-October when the winter weather arrives again and they can no longer operate as effectively."
The county council has budgeted £23m for maintenance to Lancashire's road surfaces in 2018/19, with around £10m of this set aside to fix potholes and carry out minor repairs, such as spray injection patching.
Following a government announcement at the end of March, the council will also receive a further £2.4m from the national 'pothole action fund'.
County Councillor Snowden added: "We are determined to address the problems of potholes and other road defects, which are such a concern for people across Lancashire.
"We've got an extensive programme of maintenance planned for the coming months, and with the help of technology such as the spray injection machines, I'm sure people will begin to see the difference in the condition of our roads very soon."