Ask the expert – Solving the pothole problems

With more than 5,300 miles of road, the highest car ownership in the country, a position between two busy ports and London, as well as links to key motorway routes, heavy traffic takes its toll on Hampshire’s roads

Sep 15 2017


That’s why we have adopted a successful long term approach to highways maintenance, where we look at the best treatment at the best time for a road to make it more resilient to heavy traffic and the impact on the road surfaces of cold, wet weather.  Planning work in this way is a more effective and efficient way of prolonging the life of our roads.

We are also continually exploring new innovations and technology, like the flame spewing Dragon Patcher (pictured) to make sure we continue to get good value for money for Hampshire’s residents.

But what happens when a pothole appears and how can you help? We ask the experts at Hampshire Highways.

How do I report a pothole?

While Hampshire Highways carries out regular inspections of road conditions, we also rely on the public reporting any problems to us in line with national best practice.  If you come across a pothole, the best way to report it to us for investigation is via our website.  Give us as much information as you can about the location and size of the pothole. Attaching a photograph is really helpful.

What happens after a pothole has been reported?

The report goes straight into the system at our Highways Operation Centre, where it is allocated to one of our highway engineers for a site inspection. The size of the network means we cannot repair every pothole instantly, so the engineer will assign a priority, based on the size, the position, and how much the road is used. If the defect is classed as urgent, the engineer will arrange for it to be seen to within two hours, otherwise it may be flagged up for further monitoring through our regular inspections, or put into a planned programme of works. The defect will usually be marked up for repair with white paint

Why aren’t all potholes fixed?

Our aim is to keep Hampshire’s roads safe and well maintained.  We also have to live within our means, and make sure we put the limited resources we have to the most efficient use. While some roads may not look perfect, we may still consider them to be in a safe condition requiring no maintenance. In Hampshire we adopt nationally recognised best practice to manage highway assets, and this generally means that we prioritise resources to ensure that time and money is spent on those areas where the need is greatest. We have a significant planned maintenance programme each year which is specifically focussed on improving the condition of the Hampshire road network. Since 2010 we have invested over £100 million on resurfacing 2,520km of road, 341km of footway and putting in 569 drainage schemes.  

How do you decide which potholes to fix first?

Where potholes present a significant hazard, our contractor will attend to make it safe, or repair it, within two hours, with a permanent repair wherever possible. Sometimes, if we need to close the road to safely carry out a permanent repair, we will put in a temporary repair in the meantime.  If it is not urgent, the timescales for repair can be anything between one month and six months, depending on the likelihood of further deterioration and if the road is already scheduled for full resurfacing works in the near future.  Again, we may do a temporary repair in some cases to make the road safe until it is scheduled for full resurfacing.

How do I find out when the pothole I reported is going to be fixed?

You can track the status of your pothole report by entering the reference number in our status tracker.

You can also see where problems have already been reported, and their status, by searching for the postcode you are interested in.

The markers on the map will tell you if the report is still open, or if it has been resolved.