Shropshire Council

Pothole maintenance and repair

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Shropshire Council has responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the public highway, including potholes. Use the information and video on this page to find out more about the work we carry out to identify and repair potholes on Shropshire’s roads.

Video: How we identify and treat potholes

What is a pothole?

A pothole is a hole in the road where the surface of the road has been eroded and a hollow has formed.

They’re usually formed during the winter months as a direct result of snow, ice and prolonged periods of rain and occur where an area of the road’s surface has broken up and fallen out.

A pothole is usually deeper than 50mm and wider than 75mm. However, on some minor rural roads they can be deeper before a repair is carried out.

How many potholes are there in Shropshire?

 It really is impossible to give an accurate figure. However, in 2018 just over 8,000 potholes were reported, and we did just over 13,500 repair jobs fixing the highway.

How do we identify and repair potholes?

We have a duty to maintain the roads, but we can only fill a pothole if we know about it.

We carry out regular inspections of the roads but also rely on members of the public reporting potholes to us.

We inspect all reported potholes and risk assess them to prioritise their repair. They’ll either be classed as urgent or will be put into a planned programme of works to ensure they are repaired as efficiently as possible.

Over the last four or five years we’ve also introduced new methods of recording defects and use mobile technology for logging potholes.

The severity of the pothole and, therefore, the urgency of treating it, is determined by the risk it poses to road users. This is difficult to judge since all potholes present some risk. However the factors to be taken into account include location, size and depth of pothole; traffic type, speed and volume; road type, alignment and visibility and also the position in relation to road width.

Of course, potholes and other defects may occur between these inspections -- particularly following freezing conditions when water in the road freezes and expands, cracking the road surface. This is why we rely on people reporting them to us.

How do we pay for the repairs?

Pothole inspections and repairs are funded from Shropshire Council’s highways maintenance budget, and from the government’s Pothole Action Fund

We estimate that the annual cost of treating potholes is £1.5m. Shropshire is receiving £1,036,000 in 2016/17 and £1,335,000 in 2017/18 as part of the government’s Pothole Action Fund. 

How to report a pothole

Potholes can happen very fast, and with over 5,000 kilometres of roads, cycleways, footpaths and verges in Shropshire, it isn’t possible for us to inspect all of the network all of the time. You can therefore help us by reporting any potholes that you see.

It’s important to provide accurate details of the problem, including:

  • What the problem is
  • Where it is located
  • When you noticed the problem
  • Your name and contact details

If a pothole has been outlined with paint it has already been inspected by our team and programmed to be fixed, so you don’t need to report it.

Please note that Shropshire Council isn’t responsible for potholes on the following roads:

  • Private roads -- these are the responsibility of residents of each private road.
  • M54, A5, A49 (south of Shrewsbury); A458 (Shrewsbury to Welshpool); A483 (Llanymynech to Oswestry) -- these are the responsibility of Highways England
  • Roads on private land, eg. retail parks.

Through our highways assets management strategy, together with The Shropshire Highways Alliance we're working together to to make sure that our roads, pavements and bridges are safe for road users now and in the future.