Hampshire is in my opinion is one of the worst counties for potholes that I have cycled so I was intrigued to pick up the Alton Herald and read claims suggesting my observations were far from reality and Hampshire County was ahead of the game with its new Roadmaster pot hole repair system.
It seems that County Councils are now adopting the political parties idea that spin is king and if you say it loud enough people will believe it. As the article and the manufacturer’s web site point out one operative can repair hundreds of metres of roads without leaving the cab and this is the most cost-effective way of maintaining Hampshire’s road repair programme.
To bust through the spin, this is an awful system from a cyclists perspective. The repair material is blasted into the hole at high pressure which is fine but that is it, there is no provision to roll the repair flat when laid and the finished surface is irregular at best and in many cases provides a wash board finish to rattle your fillings and make riding over very difficult. Future surface dressing over this poor surface just exacerbates the problem, It would seem the major qualification to do this job is not Civil Engineering experience but an HGV licence and a few days training.
The country lanes I ride are in an awful condition and getting worse by the day. The road verges are being destroyed and carriageway edges are being broken away by ever larger tractors towing larger trailers so the problem is not going to improve unless restrictions are imposed and there seems little appetite for that.
While everybody realises the financial restrictions Central Government impose causes County Councils tp pare back services unless vulnerable road users speak up it will only get worse.
This new wonder tool is nothing to do with a quality road repair and everything to do with low cost (the manufacturers web site quotes costs as low as £8.50 per square metre) repairs that can make it look like repair targets are being met within budget, it is a retrograde step using a system that is not fit for purpose as a permanent pot hole repair system.
Last week our local roads were subject to yet more surface dressing, papering over the cracks that will reappear within weeks and while this work is ongoing cyclists are forced to run the gauntlet of cars totally ignoring the recommended speed limit, throwing up chippings that felt like you are being hit by buckshot.
I find it difficult to understand that we can put man on the moon and split the atom but after two thousand years of research we cannot provide an acceptable road surface that is smooth and will last beyond 12 months.