Road faults in St Albans increase by 30 per cent

Potholes are on the rise in St Albans. Picture: Eddie Hammerman

Potholes are on the rise in St Albans. Picture: Eddie Hammerman - Credit: Archant

Reports of road faults across the district have increased by nearly 30 per cent over the last year.

The number of problems recorded by Herts county council (HCC) for St Albans rose from 351 in January 2017 to 455 in January 2018.

These figures may include some duplicates if multiple people report a road fault and includes all problems with the road, including potholes but also other issues.

Countywide statistics for potholes specifically tell the same tale. In January 2018 there were 3,634 potholes reported and only 1,841 for the year before - nearly a 100 per cent increase.

County Hall pledges to try and fix ‘urgent’ potholes in 24 hours and ‘serious’ ones within 20 days.

It attributes the rise to fluctuations in temperatures to above and below freezing. It is a vicious cycle - rain water repeatedly gets stuck in crevices, freezes, and expands, creating bigger cracks.

Wet weather also damages roads by washing away loose surface material.

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Sandridge minicab driver Dave McCormack, 60, said he accepts potholes as a daily occurrence and just dodges them: “I know I certainly notice it more when I am driving in Hertfordshire, there are not so many potholes in Bedfordshire, but I sympathise with the council.

“At this time of year you have to expect it - especially with all the salt on the road which has lifted the filled-in potholes out again.”

HCC executive member for highways Ralph Sangster said: “These figures show that our highways have had an extremely tough winter – with both freezing and wet weather increasing the number of potholes.

“Alongside the planned investment into the maintenance of our busiest roads, we are investing an additional £29m over the next four years to improve the condition of Hertfordshire’s unclassified road network - that’s the roads that most of us live on, as well as rural lanes; and we have already prioritised the fixing of potholes above other areas such as gully clearing or hedge trimming.”

He said they are using a high-pressure jet patcher to repair the roads.

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