The scale of the problem- ‘Pothole Britain’
A well-maintained road network is essential to local communities and economic prosperity. The past decade has seen growing public concern around the deteriorating condition of our roads through open crack, joints, seams and potholes.
The maintenance budget reductions and harsh weather conditions of recent years has seen the condition of our nation’s roads deteriorate exponentially. Current estimates vary regarding the scale of the problem, but figures of £10bn to £12bn have been submitted as likely totals to repair the network to a satisfactory condition. For many businesses, damage caused to commercial vehicles can be hugely detrimental. But the effects of a deteriorating road network are not confined exclusively to economics, loss of life and serious injuries are, and will, become an even greater concern if these issues are not tackled immediately.
A 2014 poll conducted by the RAC showed that drivers claimed more than £3m compensation for pothole damage in Britain last year; an increase of 2,525 claims during 2013. Local Authorities across the UK are struggling with bills of up to £100m to complete huge backlogs of road repairs. While long term spending plans and recent increased budgets from central government are welcomed by those in the highways industry, additional guidance and support on how and where to spend this funding is critical in making any sort of headway in resolving the situation.
It is therefore an encouraging sign that part of promised Government funding will be retained and allocated only to products and services which demonstrate long-term value for money, ending the cycle of using traditional convenient short-term solutions.
Over 9 years ago, Hitex Traffic Safety Materials and L&R Roadlines contractors began an extensive programme of research and development into finding a permanent road repair solution to extend the design life of the road surface. It was our aim to introduce a preventative treatment to facilitate a change in behaviour for those involved in the management of the asset.
In 2006, we began trials with our innovative fill and over-band system under the brand name Hitex Texband.
The TexBand system was informally trialled in Blackpool and Sefton with highly successful results, before being officially considered for approval by the Highway Authorities Product Approval Scheme (HAPAS) operated by the British Board of Agrément (BBA).
M6 Motorway Northbound, Cumbria- BBA/HAPAS Trial Site for Hitex TexBand
Location: M6 Motorway Northbound Cumbria, 45m north of Bridge 434/50
Scope: 6,937 linear metres
Installation date: 1st October 2007
The Highways Agency approved a site on the M6 Northbound between Tebay Services and Junction 39. The installation and testing procedures were facilitated by AmeyMouchel, the Managing Agent Contractor (MAC) for Area 13 at the time.
Jacobs Engineering U.K. Ltd was appointed by the BBA to test the product and a BBA representative attended to observe the installation and initial testing procedures. TexBand continued to be visually monitored for the duration of the trial by representatives of Hitex International and AmeyMouchel.
On the 1st December 2009 after 26 months of trafficking, Jacobs returned to site to test and record the retained skid resistance value (SRV) and texture depth (TD) of Hitex TexBand.
The SRV averaged 85.4 against a requirement of ≥50 with a TD of 1.28 against a requirement of ≥0.75. After due process BBA/HAPAS Certification for the TexBand system was achieved on the 14th April 2010.
After 7 years of trafficking, TexBand is still performing to standard at this site (Fig. 1. Below)
“Texband has provided Area 13 with a highly cost effective maintenance solution for a number of years. The product is ideal for joint and crack seal and has prolonged the life of our asset in many areas through times when funding for resurfacing has been at a minimum”.
Philip Cueto, Highways Agency Area 13
Today, Hitex TexBand system has a proven track record of success with local authorities and the Highways Agency for offering major efficiencies in the early treatment of failures in the road surface. Current surveillance of informal trials sites laid as early as 2006 show no remedial work since installation, with the product still performing to required standards many years after application.
Fig. 2 Trial site on Blackpool Promenade, installed 2006
Fig.3 Gorsey Lane for Sefton BC. Installed 2006, image taken 2013. TexBand has prevented formation of potholes on an open seam for over 7 years
Advantages as identified by our clients:
- No planning-out of existing surface means no waste for disposal
- Advantages over mill and fill system- further joints are not created requiring future maintenance
- No loose chippings produced after trafficking
- No compaction required, therefore no stress fractures caused to surrounding asphalt
- Typical curing time of just 15 minutes, reducing traffic management costs and eliminating prolonged road closures.
- High skid resistance- average SRV of 80.5 after a 3 year road trial
- The only system approved for repairing cracks within Clause 924 High Friction Surfacing
- Considerably less material used per metre than the inlay system and far less heavy equipment required to transport and apply the product
- Preventative treatment at early stage minimises potential environmental and financial impact of large road programmes
All the above advantages result in a considerably less expensive and more environmentally friendly product now available to Highway Engineers.
Fig.4 Re-Instating Type 1 surfacing on TexBand treated area of Menai Bridge, Angelsey
Fig.5 Colour-matching existing surfacing in Lord Street, Southport