Chris Grayling presses for new powers against firms causing potholes
Innovative surfacing materials and partially plastic roads also feature in DfT proposals
The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, is pressing for greater powers to hold accountable utility companies who dig holes in roads and create lasting damage.
Firms will be forced to repair road surfaces for up to five years should potholes develop after their roadworks, under Grayling’s proposals.
He has launched a consultation on extending the guarantee from the current two years, as well as introducing new standards of workmanship.
Grayling said: “Potholes are the biggest enemy for road users and this government is looking at all options to keep our roads in the best condition.
“Road surfaces can be made worse by utility companies, so imposing higher standards on repairs will help keep roads pothole-free for longer.”
Other proposals in the Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in Highways consultation include allowing the use of innovative surfacing materials, such as asphalt with a high bitumen content, which can be made less prone to potholing.
Holes remain a concern for Grayling, with the consultation following the announcement of £22.9m Department for Transport testing programme of new road surfaces and technologies, including partially plastic roads in Cumbria.
The DfT has also enabled councils to introduce rental schemes to charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day for work on busy roads, to encourage less disruption and delay.
An additional £420m for road maintenance this year was announced in the November budget, although the Asphalt Industry Alliance road survey found that more than £9bn would be needed to clear the backlog of potholes that have developed with local authority funding cuts.