28/02/2017 - Permalink

How we identify and treat potholes on Shropshire’s roads

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Shropshire Council has responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the public highway, including potholes. In this blog, and in the video below, we tell you about the work that the council and our contractor Kier carry out to identify and repair potholes on Shropshire’s roads.

Video – how we identify and treat potholes

What is a pothole?

A pothole is a hole in the road where the surface of the road has been eroded and a hollow has formed.

They’re usually formed during the winter months as a direct result of snow, ice and prolonged periods of rain and occur where an area of the road’s surface has broken up and fallen out.

A pothole is usually deeper than 50mm and wider than 75mm. However, on some minor rural roads they can be deeper before a repair is carried out.

How do we identify and repair potholes?

Shropshire Council has a duty to maintain the roads, but we can only fill a pothole if we know about it.

We carry out regular inspections of the roads but also rely on members of the public reporting potholes to us.


We inspect all reported potholes and risk assess them to prioritise their repair. They’ll either be classed as urgent or will be put into a planned programme of works to ensure they are repaired as efficiently as possible.

Over the last four or five years we’ve also introduced new methods of recording defects and use mobile technology for logging potholes.

Potholes are categorised according to a national standard of acceptable road surface quality.

Pothole Busters logoThe severity of the pothole and, therefore, the urgency of treating it, is determined by the risk it poses to road users. This is difficult to judge since all potholes present some risk. However the factors to be taken into account include location, size and depth of pothole; traffic type, speed and volume; road type, alignment and visibility and also the position in relation to road width.

They will be treated immediately; within 5 days; within 20 days; or as part of planned maintenance works in the future.

Where there are several potholes/defects in close proximity we aim to treat them simultaneously whilst the repair crews are in the area. However, when they are a large number of high priority potholes/defects requiring treatment it may be necessary for crews to return at a later date to treat the low priority ones.

Of course, potholes and other defects may occur between inspections – particularly following freezing conditions when water in the road freezes and expands, cracking the road surface. This is why we rely on people reporting them to us.

As cold and wet weather conditions are not always conducive to carrying out effective and lasting repairs, some of the work carried out in the  winter/spring can be of a temporary nature. The bulk of the council’s annual road repair budget is invested in the summer months when working conditions are better, and longer lasting repairs can be carried out.

In  April 2018 two newly-refurbished Roadmaster vehicles took to the Shropshire streets to help tackle the high number of potholes on the county’s roads.

The two Roadmaster vehicles

The vehicles use compressed air to blow water or dirt out of a pothole that needs repairing and then fill it with hot bitumen and chippings.

The repair is compacted by a roller and sealed with a layer of surface dressing – meaning a better quality of repair.

How to report a pothole

Potholes can happen very fast, and with over 5,000 kilometres of roads, cycleways, footpaths and verges in Shropshire, it isn’t possible for us to inspect all of the network all of the time. You can therefore help us by reporting any potholes that you see.

It’s important to provide accurate details of the problem, including:

  • what the problem is.
  • where it is located.
  • when you noticed the problem.
  • your name and contact details.

If a pothole has been outlined with paint it has already been inspected by our team and programmed to be fixed, so you don’t need to report it.

To report a pothole, please click here or call 0345 678 9006.

Please note that Shropshire Council isn’t responsible for potholes on the following roads:

  • Private roads – these are the responsibility of residents of each private road.
  • M54, A5, A49 (south of Shrewsbury); A458 (Shrewsbury to Welshpool); A483 (Llanymynech to Oswestry) – these are the responsibility of Highways England
  • Roads on private land, eg. retail parks.

Useful links

Report a pothole – click here or call us on 0345 678 9000.

Any questions? Email – highways.maintenance@shropshire.gov.uk. Tel: 0345 678 9000

Email updates. Receive the latest information about roadworks and resurfacing schemes direct to your inbox each time it’s added to our website. Click here to sign up to our Govdelivery service.

Highways pages on Shropshire Council website – click here.

Through our highways assets management strategy Shropshire Council and our partners Mouchel and Ringway work together to to make sure that our roads, pavements and bridges are safe for road users now and in the future.

To read the highways asset management strategy – click here