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Severe weather road damage frequently asked questions


The recent severe weather has resulted in a deterioration of some of the county’s roads and has made some existing road problems worse.

During severe winter weather and flooding, teams at Balfour Beatty were out ensuring flooded roads and damage were identified, and closed when necessary and all available manpower was used to respond as part of the county’s multi-agency response to severe weather.

Whilst some emergency road repairs were undertaken, a lot of the planned road works were on hold.

The following frequently asked questions may help to clarify what will happen next as things return to normal and work on the roads recommence.

What is the cost of the flood damage to the roads in the county?

The estimated damage to roads so far is £2.8M. This doesn’t yet include call-out and emergency costs, which we are still compiling.

Will the council have extra money to fix the roads after the severe weather we’ve just had?

Local authorities can apply for emergency funds from the Government to help with road repairs due to extreme weather under what is called the Bellwin Scheme. The council has applied for this now, and has until the end of April 2014 to use it.

Government has also launched a severe weather fund to supplement the Bellwin Scheme. The council has applied to this fund. Both funds are intended to provide funding to address the damage that has been inflicted on roads and other public infrastructure by the recent severe weather. The Council will have to fund the first £300k of these repair works from its existing revenue budgets.

I heard Herefordshire Council just agreed £20M to fix roads, is this money going to fill potholes?

Herefordshire Council is working with Balfour Beatty Living Places to invest £20M to improve road conditions longer term, throughout the county over the next two years. This will be a capital investment aimed at addressing the deterioration in the condition of our roads. This funding should not be confused with emergency funds that we may draw from the Government which are for the more immediate  repair of the damage as a result of the recent severe weather.

The aim of this longer term investment is to improve the overall condition of some of the county’s roads and therefore reduce the overall number of potholes and the spendon continuous reactive repairs.

When are the road repairs going to start?

A recovery meeting was held last week and work has begun to gather the information to get a full picture of the damage. A work schedule has been established to complete repairs at all damage sites as soon as possible.

How will you decide which roads to fix first?

Our priority is to make safe any road that has a defect that might put motorists or pedestrians at risk. This means that once identified, a defect will be categorised as to the severity of the defect and other factors such as the traffic and speed on a given road.

The detail on how we categorise defects is described in our highway maintenance plan. All Category 1 defects will be made safe within 24 hours, either by a closure or diversion or a temporary repair until more permanent repairs can be undertaken.

I live on an unclassified road that has a lot of potholes, when will this be fixed?

As per the question above, the priority is given to roads, for example an A road, where motorists may be driving at faster speeds than on an unclassified road or residential street and the danger to motorist is higher. Category 1 defects are given priority for emergency repairs.

Will you only be fixing them temporarily or permanently this time as so many of them get fixed and then reappear?

The emphasis is on permanent repair wherever possible. There are, however, still occasions when a temporary repair has to be made, for example if more substantial works are already planned, or location means a permanent repair cannot be done quickly (traffic management such as temporary lights or a road or lane closure may be required) yet the defect cannot be left.

What about the closed road at Holme Lacy Road leading to the Rotherwas industrial estate, when will that be fixed?

There is quite a bit of work to be undertaken at this location and the repairs are also dependent on some dry weather to allow the water in the area to fully dissipate. The latest info on this repair can be found here

I never see anyone out fixing potholes; it appears that nothing is being done.

Our teams at Balfour Beatty have completed in excess of 25,500 defects since 1 Sept last year and cover more than 2,000 miles of roads across the county each day. This is predominantly pothole repairs, but also includes edge damage and other carriageway issues such as footway defects, kerbs defects and drainage issues which contribute to the pothole problem, particularly during wet weather.

Currently there are 27 gangs carrying out reactive and routine repairs, using five hotboxes (mobile unit with hot material) and allocated trucks for patching repairs. In addition there are three Velocity patchers (quick repairs for multiple defects on minor roads) working across the county doing reactive repairs.

How do I report a pothole I’ve seen?

The best way to report a pothole to ensure it gets logged in our system is to report it online

How to I make a claim for damage to my vehicle because of potholes?

Follow this link to make a damage claim

Tags: Highways and transportation