More than 30 potholes in Fife are being fixed every day – with two-thirds of those repairs happening on roads in the north of the Kingdom.
New data published by the council’s roads department shows that the dozen repair teams dispatched across the region have repaired 7,652 potholes since September last year.
Every repair marked “critical” – meaning it should be addressed within 24 hours – was fixed on time, as was every single low priority fix within a 12-month target.
Around 96% of high priority reports were fixed within the expected five-day deadline, while 92% of medium priority potholes were sorted within three months.
‘High priority’ repairs most common
While surveys suggest the overall condition of Fife’s roads has improved since 2010, high priority repairs account for around two thirds of all pothole fixes in Fife – suggesting problems are substantial when they do arise.
In addition, around two thirds of all repairs carried out occur in the north of the Kingdom, covering the north-east, Levenmouth and Glenrothes area.
Derek Crowe, Fife Council’s roads manager, says the authority’s usual two to four repair squads have been upgraded to as many as a dozen to address the problem, brought about by a particularly cold and wet winter.
“We’ve brought colleagues in from construction and two external contractors, which we’ve never had to do before,” he said.
“The aim over the next three months is to go through the backlog.”
Quick-fix jobs not good enough
The council has introduced a new way of assessing potholes and better ways of fixing them.
Instead of quick-fix patch jobs which might keep the holes filled for a short period, repairs are now designed to be a “one-off” that should not need addressing again in the short-term.
While this strategy is better in the long term, it does mean that some repairs assessed as low priority will not be carried out for up to a year.
“We’re intervening to carry out complete, permanent repairs with material compacted by proper rolling plant,” he added.
“Quick and dirty repairs are not good enough.
“The new strategy is more sustainable than delivering little itty-bitty repairs.”
Millions allocated for large-scale repairs and resurfacing
As part of this year’s council budget, infrastructure bosses have received nearly £10m for both large-scale pothole repairs and longer-term resurfacing that should, Mr Crowe says, continue the positive trend in road conditions.
“I hope this gives people a sense of the difficult year the service has had and the response we’ve made to this huge uptick in potholes,” he said.