Wrexham set to change its approach to fixing potholes to drive up efficiency

Changes to how potholes are to be filled in Wrexham could lead to longer lasting repairs, a senior councillor has claimed.

Wrexham Council has invested in new vehicles and equipment to allow road defects to be fixed using hot tar. It follows criticism from residents and community leaders over the state of the area’s road network.

Members of the local authority’s executive board will be asked to back recommendations resulting from a review of its highways inspection policy when they meet next week, reports the Leader.

The revisions, which it’s estimated will cost an extra £250,000 per year, include improved target times for repairs and a greater focus on minor roads.

Deputy council leader David A Bithell said it was anticipated fixing potholes using “hot box” tar machines would result in less work being required in future.

Speaking at a media briefing, the authority’s lead member for environment and transport said: “We have purchased new vehicles, so each area is going to get its own vehicle and hot box. When we see defects, providing they meet the intervention levels, they’ll be going out and filling the potholes in with hot tar and not cold tar.

“Hopefully it’ll last longer, save money and the money that we invest will be more cost effective than the previous way that we’ve done it.

“We’ve got most of the equipment ready to go and subject to the policy change, I would imagine that within a month we’ll be rolling out the new procedures across each area in preparation for the winter.”

The proposals received widespread support when they were considered by the council’s homes and environment scrutiny committee last month.

Councillors said they believed it would help to restore public confidence, with an estimated £40m required to bring Wrexham’s roads up to standard over the next decade.

An extra £1m was included in last year’s budget towards highways maintenance work but improvements to the process were said to have been delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Council leader Mark Pritchard said some of the money would be spent on employing six new staff members to carry out repairs.

He said: “This is about enhancing and speeding up the process of filling potholes in Wrexham. We have lots of complaints with reference to potholes, as do lots of authorities. I believe that other authorities across Wales will follow our lead on this, because it’s a problem all over the country.”

If approved, the changes would result in potholes on minor routes which are deeper than 75mm needing to be repaired within a target time of 20 days, compared to 90 days under the council’s current policy.

It would also mean any potholes deeper than 50mm on main roads would have to be made safe within two hours, said the Leader report.

The proposals will be considered at a meeting of the executive board.

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