Britain's pothole crisis currently worse than ever

As Britain's pothole crisis reaches its worst point in three years, a new machine from JCB could prove a cost- and time-effective solution to the issue.

Potholes filled with water

Data from the end of 2022 has shown that the pothole problem on Britain's roads were worse at the end of 2022 than they had been for three years.

The RAC has reported an increase in pothole-related breakdowns in the final three months of 2022. In the three months before October, the RAC responded to an average of 16 pothole-related breakdowns per day, nationwide. Between October and the end of 2022, however, that rose to 20 per day, making 2022's the busiest fourth quarter of a year for pothole-related breakdowns since 2019.

The RAC also suggests that a significant number of potholes could form in the coming months, thanks to the combination of freezing temperatures and sustained periods of heavy rain in December and now into January. 

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The wet weather we’ve had both before and after the coldest start to winter in 12 years in December is the perfect recipe for potholes to start peppering the roads.

“We fear that by the Spring, drivers will be plagued by a plethora of potholes across the country’s roads which makes journeys uncomfortable and frustrating or, worse still, could lead to very expensive garage repair bills – the last thing anyone wants in a cost-of-living crisis. It’s also important to remember that potholes are so much more than just an annoyance, they are a true road safety danger, especially for those on two wheels as they represent a huge risk to their personal safety.

“As many drivers will no doubt testify, there are too many occasions where potholes have been poorly patched up by cash-strapped councils which then return all too quickly.

“It’s frankly absurd that, as a country, we seem unable to get on top of such an age-old problem when roads play such an important role in people’s everyday lives – and are vital to moving goods and businesses delivering services.

“Councils are crying out for more funding to do a proper job in getting their roads up to a decent standard.

“With drivers still rating the ongoing poor state of the roads as one of their biggest motoring frustrations, they can only hope that 2023 is the year when the Government finally sits up, takes notice of Britain’s perpetual problem with potholes and comes up with a better way to solve it.”

(This article was originally published on 16 January 2023, and has been updated with the above text on 18 January 2023. The original article text can be read below.

JCB has launched a new machine which can significantly reduce both the financial and time costs of repairing potholes and damaged roads. 

The machine is called “Pothole Pro” and, as is fairly heavily suggested by its name, the objective of it is to repair potholes. 

As anyone who has had the pleasure of travelling along Britain’s roads will know, there is a fairly significant problem with potholes in the country.

Whether in a built-up area, or even on roads out in the country or generally more open and less populated places, it generally does not take long to find a hole in the road. 

If you know the roads you are travelling, these can be negotiated, but on unfamiliar roads, especially at night, avoiding them can be not only difficult but also down to luck. 

Additionally, the problem is not only one which can cause an annoyance and an uncomfortable ride, but also one which can be costly. They can cause significant damage to vehicles, and for motorcycle riders they are also a significant safety concern. 

Potholes are not a new issue, either, of course. This problem is one which stretches back decades, and yet it is one which persists. Councils and highway agencies justify the lack of action generally with costs. 

JCB’s Pothole Pro intends to eradicate that justification. The Pothole Pro can fix a pothole in eight minutes, and costs only £30 per square metre of road to be repaired. 

The RAC reports that 23,000 miles of road have so far been repaired by the Pothole Pro, and that JCB is now taking global orders for the machine.

Motorists in France will be hoping the government there takes JCB up on its offer. Le Repaire des Motards reports that 30% of road fatalities in France are due to road defects, although these also include problems such as a lack of road signage or grip as well as potholes.

Additionally, €2 million have reportedly been paid out by the Parisian local administration for damages caused by road defects in the city.

(The above text is of the original version of this article published on 16 January 2023. Below is an update added on 18 January 2023.)


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