Grantham Journal column: Pothole prevention is far better than cure
The phrase ‘all roads lead to Rome’ is an echo of the Roman Empire which reflects on more than just their legendary military power and influence.
With the seat of their power, Rome, being at the centre of the known world at the time, quite literally their roads radiated out from the middle to the furthermost reaches of their empire. Here in Britain, and specifically Lincolnshire, we are still influenced by these roads built several thousand years ago.
The Romans, to their credit, built over 1,800 miles of roads across the UK with undoubtedly less red tape and bureaucracy than we have to deal with maintaining the 5,500 miles that we are now responsible for in Lincolnshire.
More recently, the way the town of Grantham developed continues to impact on the road system we now drive round. Sadly, our forefathers didn’t predict the rise of the car traveller and the impact having major routes through towns, under railways and over rivers would have. It’s the wear and tear that the increasing traffic causes that we are currently working on in the town centre.
The current programme is investing half a million pounds in proactively repairing the surface of some of the busiest and heavily trafficked roads. By utilising data collected from various surveys and technical investigations the engineers aim to intervene to prevent the surface failing and potholes and ruts appearing.
This does mean, however, that it can appear that roads are being fixed that are not in need of work, but rather like the anti-dandruff shampoo adverts say, that’s entirely the point. By preventing key routes getting into a poor state not only do we save money – proactive maintenance is much cheaper than reactive repairs – but also we are able to secure better funding from central government.
Stopping the roads getting into poor condition is a long-term ambition I have for the whole county and the techniques we are now employing such as resin pothole repairing and in situ road recycling are starting to show real benefits.
It’s not always the big ticket issues that make the difference though, as how we work is also key to the impact on residents and travellers alike. The gyratory system works are being done in the evenings from 6pm to midnight. This is designed to reduce the impact on the travelling public but also to avoid disturbing local residents too much.
Equally important to what we do is: how we communicate what is being done; why it’s being done and when it’s going to happen. Grantham now has its own major projects page on the LCC website, www.lincoln shire.gov.uk/roadworks grantham, and we are using the national roadworks system, www.roadworks.org, to provide as much information about what is being planned for Lincolnshire’s roads.
In addition, we are doing more on Twitter and Facebook, recognising that while no one likes to see cones and traffic lights spring up, being forewarned enables us, the travelling public, to plan better. Which, hopefully, will take the sting out of the unavoidable delays.