The condition of Britain’s roads hash reached breaking point, with one recent report (from the Asphalt Industry Alliance) claiming that it would take £12bn, and 12 years, to deal with the backlog of highway maintenance issues across England and Wales.
Potholes, general deterioration and cracking are among the most common problems, caused and compounded by years of neglect and the worst of the British weather.
Now a potential solution has been found and put forward by one company. Already, local authorities like Wiltshire County Council are putting the idea into action to repair damage on C-roads and rural routes which farmers and others in the countryside find essential. Called Velocity, the solution is reportedly able to fill potholes more quickly and cheaply than any other solution.
How it works
Typically, a three-man team works on damage roads with an 18-tonne truck. One drives, another controls a hose hooked up to it. First, high-velocity air removes debris and dust from the pothole. A cold emulsion is then forced, at high pressure, into all crevices and cracks, via the hose. This seals the defect and stops water from getting in – a main culprit in causing these problems in the first place.
Lastly, an aggregate mix of stones is sent at high speed via the hose, and gets covered in emulsion. Then the surface is made level and smooth with a compression tool.
In all, the job takes just minutes, there are no road closures and vehicles can drive over the fix as soon as the team has left, even those weighing up to 44 tonnes. Very little is needed in the way of preparation, and material quantities involved are small.
Each lorry has enough material to complete up to 200 defects, and a team can even refill and go out and fill another 150-200 if it happens to be near enough to a depot.
While this sort of patching isn’t long term, lasting typically up to three years, it does offer value for money. Each defect costs around £18 to repair, compared to the usual average fee of £55. It can’t be used on main, urban roads, where damage is often a lot more severe, so a full resurface is needed. However, it has to be a much-needed step in the right direction.