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Potholes

Severe weather over the past year and significant flooding countywide has placed pressure on the county's highways resulting in the highway service battling to patch and repair defects and potholes.

Our first priority is to keep the road network safe - in practice this is achieved through our systems of regular safety inspections (as well as reports from members of the public) which are aimed at addressing only the worst defects.

Reporting a pothole

Before reporting a defect or pothole check our reported defects and potholes map to see if we have completed the repair or have planned to. 

Report a new defect or pothole

Logged defects or potholes

You can get an update of any defects or potholes you have logged on our reported defects and potholes map.

If you have problems viewing these updates contact Herefordshire Councils Customer Service team on 01432 261800, quoting the reference number given upon logging.

Please allow 28 days from the date of report before requesting an update to allow us time to inspect. We aim to inspect enquiries within 28 days of receipt, however this is dependent on varying workloads and is not always possible.

Road maintenance schedules

You can read our severe road damage FAQs in our newsroom.

How do I report a pothole?

Herefordshire Council is the highway authority for the majority of the county's roads. This is except for the trunk roads and motorways (A49T, A40T (Ross-on-Wye to Monmouth) and the M50), which are maintained by the Highways Agency. To report a pothole on these roads you will need to contact the Highways Agency.

Report a pothole

If the matter is urgent please telephone 01432 261800.

Please remember, when reporting a pothole:

  • Try to provide a good location - street name, road number and any landmarks (for example at junction of Barrs Court Road and A465 Aylestone Hill, Hereford)
  • Provide as much information as possible that will help the inspector find the pothole you are reporting

We pass the information to our contractor who deliver the service on behalf of Herefordshire Council's highways services. The works will be logged for inspection within a 28 day time-frame and then, if appropriate, added to a schedule of works.

It can take up to six months for a job to be completed, depending on the scale of the problem identified by the inspector.

We will provide you with a case reference number so that you can enquire about progress, but please note that until the issue has been inspected by our highways inspector (within 28 days) we will be unable to give you any further information.

Why do potholes occur?

A pothole occurs when the road surface breaks up to expose the layers beneath.

Traffic is one factor, but the main cause is water freezing and thawing during the winter. Water builds up on the surface of roads and footpaths creating pressure that results in holes forming from below.

Potholes can develop very quickly and it is often impossible to predict where they will appear, although there may be regular patterns on sections of some roads.

Potholes do not mean there is a problem with the road construction, but if they're not repaired the surface will get progressively worse. 

Are all potholes the same?

There are various types of defects that can cause potholes including:

Pothole defects

How do you prioritise pothole repairs?

The criteria used to prioritise the repairs of potholes include:

  • Depth
  • Location
  • Likely deterioration rate
  • Traffic use (vehicle and pedestrian)

The time-scale to repair the pothole depends on the category it is in. Category 1 potholes are repaired within 24 hours, whilst category 2 potholes are repaired within 28 days.

Category 1 potholes

A category 1 defect requires prompt attention because it represents an immediate or imminent hazard. There may also be a risk of short term structural deterioration. 

Where required, due to the nature of the hazard created by the defect, they will be made safe at the time of inspection to protect the public. This may constitute erection of warning notices, cones or fencing.

All category 1 defects will be made safe within 24 hours either through temporary or permanent repair.

Category 2 potholes

Category 2 potholes include all other defects. These are defects that do not represent an immediate or imminent hazard or a risk of short term structural deterioration. Category 2 defects may represent a safety concern but of a far lesser significance than category 1 defects.

Category 2 defects are considered under two sub-categories determining how they are treated.

Priority A defects represent a greater safety hazard or are likely to deteriorate further before the next scheduled inspection. They will be prioritised and repaired within 28 days. Repairs are made alongside routine maintenance work or as part of a programmed maintenance scheme, being kept in a safe condition until the scheme is undertaken.

Priority B defects do not represent a public safety concern. They are unlikely to deteriorate further before the next scheduled inspection and are noted for the next safety/service inspection.

For more information visit our Highway Maintenance Plan page

View the Well-maintained Highways Code of Practice

If I have damaged my property by driving into a pothole can I claim compensation?

If you have damaged your property as a result of a possible pothole you may be able to claim reimbursement of your losses if you can prove that we have failed in our duties as the highway authority.

For further information you can:

Visit our highway claims page

What is surface dressing and where is it used?

Surface dressing is a long established highway maintenance technique that involves an even spray application of an emulsion bituminous binder onto the existing road surface followed immediately by the even application of aggregate chippings to ‘dress' the binder.

Surface dressing is suitable for use on all classifications of road and is used as a cost effective way to repair sections of road that have deteriorated but not significantly enough to warrant major resurfacing works. It is frequently used to help prolong the life of a recently resurfaced road.

What is jet patching and where is it used?

Jet patching is a cost effective treatment for pothole repairs, especially applicable on U and C roads. In the right conditions the average jet-patcher repair can take just two minutes, and due to the speed of the process it can be carried out under mobile works, therefore limiting the need for traffic management systems.

The longevity of a jet patch repair is clearly comparable to more traditional hot box repairs and is a useful addition to the techniques used to combat potholes across the county.

What is Micro-Asphalt and where is it used?

Micro-Asphalt surface is a thin-coat surface that is laid over an existing road. The road to be treated will be repaired with tarmac and then the thin surface will be applied over the top.

While a Micro-Asphalt surface will not eliminate defects like the taking up and relaying of a road would, it does provide a new, hardwearing, cost-effective surface. This surface will restore the skid-resistance of a road and will seal the carriageway against the ingress of water. 

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