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Pothole bill will be shared with contractors

PUBLISHED: 16:03 12 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:26 01 July 2010

Pot-holes in the road suface in St Andrews St, Norwich

Pot-holes in the road suface in St Andrews St, Norwich

Shaun Lowthorpe

Transport officials have agreed with contractors to split a £200,000 bill to put right pothole problems which saw stretches of roads in the county crack-up during the big freeze - barely a few weeks after being treated.

Transport officials have agreed with contractors to split a £200,000 bill to put right pothole problems which saw stretches of roads in the county crack-up during the big freeze - barely a few weeks after being treated.

Norfolk County Council ordered an investigation in March after it emerged that 52 roads treated last summer roads had been damaged by the wintery weather despite being treated a few weeks before.

County Hall spends around £57m on road maintenance and the problems are linked to a small stretch of roads.

But the inquiry found that while the severe winter was to blame for the bulk of the problems, in some places these were made worse because of defects in the way the surface dressing was applied.

Issues included not enough binder being used in the first place and blockages in the emulsion sprayers used to cover the roads, which meant that an imperfect covering could be more easily damaged by freezing temperatures and expanding ice.

The authority received a £200,000 bill to put those problems right, but £30,000 of this will be covered by contractors May Gurney as part of a guarantee to put the problems right.

The remaining £170,000 will be split between the council and the firm - which means that council taxpayers are looking at a bill of around £85,000.

The deal comes as the authority confirmed it would have £4.8m to spend on repairing potholes across the county

The county council has found £2m from its own coffers to put right the problems while the government has also given the authority £2.8m which will see road repairs carried out across the county.

Adrian Gunson, cabinet member for environment, transport and planning, said that the council was already looking at changes to the times of the year roads are treated to ensure there is no repeat of the problems, but there was no conclusive reason as to why some of the dressings failed.

“The most likely theory is that it's difficult to get it right for both very hot and very cold temperatures,” he said. “The other is that we did it too late in the season. This year we have started doing it already in the coastal areas, Yarmouth, and North Norfolk.

“I don't think there is any evidence of consistent poor workmanship, one or two incidents may have been associated with the workmanship, but the major problem was caused by the weather.”

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