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 make sure that our roads, pavements and bridges are safe for road users now and in the future.
Making a claim for vehicle damage or injury caused by a pothole
Should you wish to submit a claim to us you'll need to complete, sign and return a claim form, which can be found in Word or pdf formats under 'Related documents' on this page, along with the accompanying guidance.
Please be advised that as we're responsible for public money we're only able to offer compensation where it's considered that we would be held legally liable in respect of the incident. Our reasons for this are as follows:
Under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980, a highways authority is under an obligation to keep their highways in a good state of repair. Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980 imposes a duty upon the authority to carry out regular inspections of the highways in our area for the purpose of maintenance. Courts accept however that no matter how diligent an authority is, it can't prevent or respond immediately to all defects. As a consequence, the simple existence of a defect on the highway doesn't generally render the highway authority automatically liable.
As a council we have a highways policy which stipulates the inspection and repair regime to be followed, which ensures that we're not in breach of Section 58 of the Highways Act. Should we receive complaints or reports of defects in the interim period between scheduled inspections, or in the event that one of our highways technicians records a defect whilst in the area, we would respond accordingly, carrying out emergency repairs when necessary.
Compensation would be payable in the event that we'd failed to adhere to our inspection regime, or failed to repair a known defect within the appropriate time frame. During adverse weather conditions, we may be unable to carry out our routine inspections until the roads are clear of snow/flood water. Once the roads are cleared, if we consider that we acted reasonably to resume inspections and identify and repair defects, in accordance with our duties under the Highways Act we'll look to defend any claim made.
If you decide to claim you'll need to provide full details as requested on the claim form. Any incomplete claim form will not be accepted.
To help identify the defect that caused your incident we advise that you:
- Provide a map or street image (such as Google) with a mark pinpointing the location of where your incident occurred
- Include an image of the defect in the context of the surrounding area
- Specify the defect to which the damage or injury is attributed when multiple defects are present
Failure to pinpoint the exact location and defect causing the incident will mean that the claim can't be considered.
Whilst most claims are honestly made, unfortunately a small proportion of claims are fraudulent. As a result of this, our insurers use various anti-fraud measures, including registering claimant’s details with databases that are shared with other insurers and councils. All information is dealt with in accordance with the Data Protection Act.