Optimum Depth of A Pothole

Unfortunately, not quite the size of a dinner plate, so might not justify priority filling.

All cyclists know how dangerous potholes are. If you ride over it, you could come off and break your leg, or at least your front frok.. If you swing to the right, 30 cm to avoid it, some motorists will aggressively beep you because they were intending to overtake you leaving no room. It’s like being between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Fortunately, we have report a pothole – by the good old CTC.

But, the problem is do councils actually act on these. How deep and wide does a pothole have to be before it leads to repair?

Many councils say that unless a pothole is 20cm deep it’s not really a pothole or at least doesn’t require fixing.
I’m sure if I tried hard enough, I could prove that 18cm potholes have just as much capacity to be dangerous as there deeper cousins. If someone gets stabbed with a short knife, we don’t say – it’s not a crime because the knife is only 5cm long?

Actually, there are many different interpretations of what constitutes a pothole

In Suffolk, a serious pothole must be the width of a “large dinner plate” (11.8in) – But, if the pothole is on a minor road, it must be about the size of a “dustbin lid” (23.6in, 600mm) to warrant urgent action.

In Hounslow, traffic officers will fix potholes on residential streets only if they meet “intervention levels” of 3in (75mm) in depth.

In Coventry the council has determined the depth of a priority pothole; “a pound coin and a 1p coin side by side” (1.6in). Presumably, if the pothole isn’t quite deep enough, you could use the 1p coin to scrape away at the loose gravel to make the pothole deeper.

There is one practical issue about filling in potholes. Temporary hole fills often prove very short term. They get filled in, but have a tendency to break up again within one year. If the council however, resurface the road properly the road surface can last for 10 or 20 years. Clearly, it is more efficient to resurface roads properly rather than have persistent yearly hole filling traffic works.



3 Responses to Optimum Depth of A Pothole

  1. Lewis September 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    My route to work is littered with potholes and sections of terrible road surface (mostly in the part of the road where cyclists would be) and has been so for nearly a year. Most of the The council doesn’t seem to care.

  2. Simon E September 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    In my experience the durability of a repair depends mainly on the diligence of those doing the work.

  3. Maxwell September 12, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    I’ve been dreaming about developing some kind of cheap, instant, durable, safe and foolproof pothole filler mix that members of the public could apply to their roads themselves. Unfortunately I’m not a scientist, lawyer or businessman, so I’d fail on all three counts. It’d be great if someone did it though. Even if the product were illegal it could be used for a lot of good by vigilante cycling activists.

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