In last week’s paper there appeared a column on page 3 headed What Potholes? It reported Hampshire Highways had turned the corner when it comes to getting on top of the county’s pothole situation.
So said county councillor for Petersfield, Russell Oppenheimer.
In the article he blamed “man-made climate change” for last winter’s pothole pandemic, but added, in his report to Petersfield Town Council: “By the end of June, we anticipate being back to business as usual.”
Really? Year on year we have experienced pothole problems, with little improvement in the standard of repairs that, when done, can withstand the ‘wear and tear’ of ever-increasing traffic levels.
Some ten years ago I watched a couple of contracted workmen repairing potholes and I must say the work was nothing short of shoddy. It was simply a case of shovelling in some asphalt or tarmac – I’m not sure which – and then patting it down with the shovel. Job done.
A few years back Hampshire County Council (HCC) made great efforts to publicise pothole repairing projects, such as Operation Restore and Pothole Busters, but both proved to be unsuccessful in providing lasting repairs, which is one reason we still have the problem today.
Whether or not HCC subsequently took any follow-up action with repair contractors, I know not.
In my area, we have recently had new gas supply pipes laid, which required road and pavement trenching and, once the pipes were installed, the trenching was filled in and resurfaced to a very high standard, compared to the filling in of potholes.
Maybe Cllr Oppenheimer could pay Horndean a visit to see how such work should be undertaken?
I should also add that work undertaken by cable companies, when they had finished trenching our roads and pavements some 25 years ago, resurfaced their trenching with great success as the resurfaced areas are still in good shape.
In my opinion I believe it is essential councils carry out regular inspections of ongoing pothole-filling projects to make sure that we residents are getting value for money. I would also suggest such contractors should not be paid a specific sum for each pothole repaired, known as ‘piece work’, because that only encourages shoddy work to achieve a high turnover of pothole repairs.
Sorry, Cllr Oppenheimer, I think it is piffle to blame the pothole problem on “man-made climate change” alone. It’s also a case of shoddy workmanship that has helped to create a “man-made pothole problem”, year after year.
If the latter is not addressed, we will never turn the corner and improve the situation.
By Robert Davis
Hawthorn Road, Horndean