Monday, 20 July 2015

Potholes and trip hazards - Inspecting Launceston's roads for defects

This morning I joined fellow Cornwall Councillor Jade Farrington and town councillor Dave Gordon to see the work of one of Cornwall's highways inspectors. The inspector was going round the centre of the town looking for problems with pavements and roads and marking them for repair.

This is an exercise that is undertaken every eight weeks in Launceston and, during the two hours we spent in the town centre, we found 25 defects which have been marked for repair.

To be considered a defect, a hole needs to be 20mm deep if it is on the pavement or 40mm deep if it is on the road. But it also needs to be capable of repair, so there are some triangular gaps on the edges of pavements which could be filled in but the filling would come out again within 24 hours. That makes such repairs time consuming and wasteful.

Each defect that is noted is logged into the council's system using a handheld GPS enabled computer. It is also visibly marked on the street with yellow crayon. Repairs in town centres take place by the end of the next working day - so all of those we saw will be repaired by close of play on Tuesday.

Brian the inspector told us that 25 defects is relatively high for a single inspection route. Part of the issue is that Launceston town centre pavements are largely made up of granite slabs - now 150 years old. These are more prone to breakages than asphalt pavements and the gaps between slabs can open up very easily. You could quickly and dramatically cut the number of repairs by replacing all these with tarmac pavements - but at huge cost and probably to the detriment of how the town looks. (Before anyone gets concerned, no-one is suggesting this is ever going to happen).

Problems do occur between inspections. So if you know of a defect on a pavement or roadway in town (and it is not already marked with yellow crayon) please get in touch.

No comments: