Report a non-urgent pothole or damaged road surface online and view details about how we maintain our roads.
How do we decide what to do about potholes?
When we receive a report of a pothole, or when our highways officers identify an issue during routine checks, we carefully examine the problem to decide how urgently we need to act. That usually depends on how serious the damage to the road is, and how busy the road is. It also depends on what is the best use we can make of our resources, staff and repair vehicles.
We prioritise the repair of potholes based on the level of risk to road users. If a pothole has been inspected and assessed as needing attention, it will be added to a programme of work. We prioritise road repair based on a number of factors including the depth, size and location of the pothole on the road; the volume of traffic; and the speed of the road.
Repairing potholes is only one part of our wider programme of road maintenance works. You can find out more about the different road maintenance techniques we use, when we use them and why, here.
There are several reasons why temporary repairs are made.
In wet or icy conditions a permanent repair wouldn't actually work; the hot bitumen would instantly cool before adequate compaction could be achieved and the ice or water would also prevent the repair bonding to the road.
Permanent repairs take more time and, depending on their location, may require a road closure or temporary traffic lights to be brought in. This requires more equipment, staff and planning, particularly at times when the resource isn't available immediately - perhaps because highway staff are on winter gritting duty and have more urgent potholes to fix.
Potholes, or a series of them, may be symptomatic of a more general, underlying problem on the stretch of road. This requires further investigation and potential resurfacing of an entire road section. This is a larger job and so can't be done immediately.
If the reported pothole does need attention but does not pose an immediate hazard to the road user, it may be more cost effective to plan longer lasting repair work. We may be planning further works in the area and the pothole in question will be fixed as part of an overall programme of work. This would then be prioritised according to how busy the road is and how much impact the work would have.
Through this approach we are able to stop roads getting into a condition where a more expensive preventative treatment is needed or where potholes or other defects might become more common.
This approach means that you could see us working on roads that are, on the face of it, in a better condition than others, however this is done to maximise the long term benefit for the money that we have.
We check the state of current known defects during monthly safety inspections of main roads to ensure that they have not worsened to the point where they now pose a hazard to road users. These safety inspections are carried out less frequently on low traffic roads where further erosion is likely to be slower due to the reduced traffic volumes.
Funds from vehicle excise duty (VED) and fuel don't come directly to us, they go to central government. Each year, we receive an allocation of funds from central government which we must decide how to use.
We face the following challenges.
- Overall, the indicative settlement from the government for transport for the next four years equates to an approximate 12 per cent cut in cash terms, and an approximate 15 per cent cut in real terms taking into account inflation;
- The previous two exceptionally severe winters resulted in approximately £36million worth of accelerated damage to the highway, providing significant additional budget pressures. This impact has been recognised and we have received an extra £6.632million this year to repair the damage. A programme of schemes has already been developed; and
- It's thought that the nation as a whole has a £1billion backlog of road repairs; in North Yorkshire road maintenance needs are estimated as being at least £200million.
Whilst the required cuts are significant we should not lose sight of the fact that for the next four years we still expect to have between £54million and £57million available each year to deliver the highways service. Although the network we manage is vast (over 5,800 miles of roads, 2,600 miles of footways and 2,000 bridges) we still aim to deliver a high quality service. This covers all repair and improvement work, not just the repair of potholes.
If you wish to report a pothole or other highway fault, we encourage you to do so via our online reporting system.
Reports made on our website are cheaper for the council to process and give you a speedier resolution where we are able to repair the fault.
However, there are various third party websites on which people can log reports of potholes. We process reports received from these sites, but they can take up more staff time and do not always provide all the information we require.
If you use our system
- You can pinpoint a pothole on a map to report its exact location.
- Reports go straight to the highway inspector to investigate without needing to go through any other staff.
- You can log in to track the progress of your pothole report and view any updates from the highways inspector.
- It saves the council money, because reports go straight into our system without customer service staff needing to re-input information.
If you use other third party websites
- Issues are sent to us by email and go to our customer service team. As we receive hundreds of emails it can take time to get to your report and log it in our system. Using our website ensures your report is logged much faster.
- We always acknowledge receipt of pothole reports from third party websites. However, the sites do not always reflect this.
- Third party websites do not always give us the minimum level of information we need to investigate and repair a pothole; reports can be vague and we do not have the resources to analyse miles of road to find a single fault.
- A benefit often cited by third party sites is that you can see reports other people have made and monitor the performance of your council in filling potholes. However, as there are several third party sites, a pothole you report may already have been reported elsewhere, but you would not see this.
- Third party sites display a list of logged potholes and an indication of how many have been filled. However, these will be inaccurate unless customers return to update their report to say a fault has been rectified, or we make a special effort to mark reports as rectified, at a cost of staff time.