On the vital subject of potholes

OK, so this is an industry story, shouting about how they shouldbe given more money. But:

The Asphalt Industry Alliance, which represents companies who produce materials needed for highway repair, has warned of what it described as a £10 billion crumbling road crisis.

Last year’s rain is estimated as having caused £338 million of damage to the country’s roads.

Councils in England and Wales spent £113 million filling potholes and a further £32 million settling compensation claims.

The roads here are in appalling shape. On the Czech side and the German. Potholes everywhere.

Which is, if we\’re honest, to be entirely expected. We\’ve still got snow here (on the mountains, in the passes, have since October, but in the cities it comes and goes, more fell yesterday) and at noon yesterday the temp was minus 10 oC. This simply will cause frost heaves. Nowt anyone can do about it.

The only interesting question is how quickly those potholes (and how well of course) get filled. My expectation is that it will be rather better done German side than Czech.

But a cold winter just is going to lead to potholes, it just is.

One fun bit yesterday. So, it was actually – 5 in Freiberg at 2 pm. So, everyone\’s got their electric space heating on, as that\’s the system used around there. We\’re talking pretty much peak \’leccie usage for the year actually, for no one at all has A/C for the summer. And those vast solar farms? There\’s one of a few acres outside Freiberg, on the Dresden road or example. Entirely iced over and snow covered. Not just that they\’ll not generate much with a low cloud cover (the Sun itself did not break through at all yesterday) but a inch of frozen water is likely to degrade performance too.

Can\’t help thinking that there might have been some capital misallocation here. You know, solar power not being quite the right technology for Germany?

Might be why so much of their electricity actually comes from lignite rather than the solar they\’ve spent tens of billions on.

7 thoughts on “On the vital subject of potholes”

  1. As a London cyclist, I’m all (unusually!) in favour of more spending on fixing the damn things. That being said, the primary cause of them here is the endless digging up of the road to replace water and gas mains, and the poor job they do filling it all in again. If I were the council I might avoid spending the money right now if I knew there was going to be a whole load more digging in six months time…

  2. BTW, the surface that seems to suffer the most from plain traffic induced pot holing is bus lane “red” tarmac. Either the stuff is crap, or buses are the vehicles that create the most damage 🙂

  3. “Councils in England and Wales spent £113 million filling potholes and a further £32 million settling compensation claims. ”
    Told this story from France before.
    Friday night, bumped into the village mayor in the bar & mentioned the pothole in the road outside the house the agricultural traffic had opened up. Tuesday morning, 9am, truck slows down, man in back dumps couple shovel fulls of asphalt, jumps down, levels in hole with shovel back. Truck reverses over repair couple times to compact. Truck drives off.
    Repairing hole outside London apartment, minor at first-cavernous later, took two years, a team of men & a road closure.

  4. You should all try the Brno-Prague motorway, it’s like driving over 200Km of those funny yellow lines you get by roundabouts .

    Belgian roads are the worst especially if you do Lille/Liege, which doubles the distance because of all the swerving involved to avoid the holes ( including one that was clear though a bridge).

    There was a big scandal in Austria, where the motorway between Passau and Wels was relaid at huge expense over a couple of years with massive disruption. They are having to do it all again, because it started to break up after its first harsh winter.

  5. Red tarmac is a great scam. Persuade councils to use it by using the greatest marketing terms ever invented “Health & Safety”. Council then feel obliged to use it. Lay it down in the thinnest layer possible so that it wears out quickly. And then keep getting the council to pay for the inevitable repairs.

  6. I am reminded of the Chilean comedian who said: The gringos are loco, in Gringolandia (USA where the gringos live) you drive for miles and miles without having to swerve for a pothole, how do they expect you to stay awake when driving?

  7. Here in rural Dorset* and, I suspect, this applies to Czech Republic and many other areas, the problem is that a large proportion of rural roads started life as cart tracks and were just tarmac’d over. The problem is that the cost and inconvenience of digging them up and relaying a good road means it just won’t happen.

    *Bit of a lie as I’m working in London and sat in the VSC as I write this, but I give me a bit of licence

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