Friday, 22 January 2010

The hole problem

It is not just Bracknell forest, but in a great many other Local authorities, that they are working flat out to repair large potholes that have appeared across the country’s road network following the worst winter weather for 30 years.

A condition called “freeze-thaw” has attacked our roads. As the water in a road freezes it expands, causing the surface of the road to break up. Councils have asked the public to report problem areas so that holes can be fixed as soon as possible. Call BFC on 01344 352000, or log it online at (Use the highway damage report form on the right). I reported several roads in Priestwood, before the last freeze, but roads like Shepherds lane have suffered even more since. One worries about the knock on effect on next years highways budget, already constrained but the current monetary situation.

At least the rubbish collections are getting back into order. Our HUGE pile of recycling was collected today. We had a lot of it because we were away on the collection day before Christmas, and forgot to ask someone to put the bin out for us. The residuals bin normaly does not have that much in it.
In an article in the LGA First magazine the chairman of the LGA environment board, says rubbish and recycling had been collected as normal wherever possible – but public safety had to come first. “Sending a 26-tonne dustcart down an icy residential street packed with cars and pedestrians is extremely dangerous.”

A further brief on the situation is given here 


  1. BFC or BFBC, or whatever they are called this week, have failed to maintain good road surfaces in Bracknell for years. Patching has become the default policy. So when weather conditions arrive that attack road surfaces the first to degrade are the patches. Is there a smooth road surface in Bracknell anymore?
    When will BRC/BFCC realise that personal car transport is the preferred mode for the majority of its residents and act accordingly to maintain good road surfaces that will survive the variances of the weather.

  2. Winter happens. In the real world outside the government we have 'business continuity plans'.
    With respect to the BFC or BFBC or whatever they are called this week, they have a responsibility to ensure that road surfaces are fit for purpose. Road transport is the primary mode of transport chosen by Bracknell residents and so the elected council should accordingly assign a priority to it. It is unacceptable that a snowfall causes the BFCarea of responsibility to freeze up.
    BFC should build up over the years a stockpile of road grit to be deployed when necessary. The staff who deploy the grit should be on standby each winter. Local grit boxes should be distributed.. Effective contingency plans should be in place for holiday periods.
    On the other hand; I don’t want to pay a load of council tax that pays to provide that contingency. Give me a 20% reduction in CT and I’ll settle for working at home when it snows.

  3. The council are well aware of the needs of the car user. The council are not anti car, as the government appear to be.
    Of course that is not to preclude improving access by means other than the car - this also has cross cutting environmental and health benefits.
    The policy is to have a maintenance program covering something like 416 kilometres of road and 700 kilometres of footway and cycleway.
    One hefty problem is that a lot of the highway and other supporting infrastructure in Bracknell were developed in the 1950s and 1960s to accommodate and service the anticipated population of the new town. As a result, large parts of that infrastructure are now all ageing at the same time. The council has been allocating additional money to address this problem. See LTP

    It is a big problem, and one that only money can fix. In the current economic climate, I cannot see that there can be any further acceleration in the replacement program.

    As for winter maintenance, it is the Council's policy to attempt to maintain safe road surfaces at all times, so far as the resources available permit. We had some exceptional weather, the like of which have not been seen for thirty years. Council staff worked very hard to keep services running in quite difficult circumstances. There were some real heroes that made it to work to help others.

    On a more technical note; duty managers are rostered to be on standby for decision making duties for the winter period from November to March inclusive. Appendix (E) of one of the Service Plans document gives typical details. See:

    The council arranged for a stockpile of salt, and for this to be replenished at suitable intervals. In the event the governments Salt cell ( took over. Like Bracknell many councils that had made adequate preparations saw replenishments of salt diverted to other authorities.

  4. Bracknell Forest Council's executive member for transport announced additional funding for repairing the borough's roads at Wednesday evening's council meeting.

    Council members ratified the announcement so £100,000 of extra funding can now be ploughed into restoring roads.

    If the council's budgets and resources allow, further cash could be made available at a later date.

  5. BracknellneedsUKIP2 February 2010 at 22:40

    So there we have it. Saving money on gritting during the big snow caused traffic chaos. Now BFC will be spending more money, on filling in the holes caused by not gritting and we will get traffic chaos again. Triffic. Council tax rise anyone?

    By the way, I hope that effective spend on the maintenance of 416 kilometres of road and 700 kilometres of footway and cycleway is not proportionate to the miles (kilometres!) of footway and cycleway. Don’t the Council pri0ritise by Usermiles and wear? Nice ways, rubbish roads. (By the way I both ride a car and use a bike.)

  6. I don't understand the "saving money" comment BracknellneedsUKIP?

    Gritting was done at appropriate times, and the holes were caused by the “freeze-thaw” that has attacked our roads, as I mentioned above.

  7. BracknellneedsUKIP4 February 2010 at 22:31

    I explain slowly for you.
    Some roads in Bracknell are bad. They have patched holes (see Wokingham road.) When there is snow it will get into those patches and break them up unless money is spent by the BFC to grit and so stop the snow from freezing into the patches and braking up the road. BFC decided to not grit during the snow to save money what they got from council tax payers. Consequently the council tax payers had road chaos coz of snow. (Remember the night of the 22nd December?)
    When snow melted, there was holes in road again because of the freezing. BFC said they will patch the holes. The road works to patch the holes cost money and will cause road chaos with traffic lights etc. Council Tax payers not very impressed with double road chaos caused by council ineptness.
    I don’t know what the cost-benefit of not gritting was in fact, or the cost of the post-snow patching road works but we have had a double road chaos. Preventive rather than corrective action is always the most cost effective. Gettit now?