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With the ongoing freak weather, defective roads are appearing more and more and as a result many vehicles are getting damaged. It is normal for potholes to appear throughout the winter months due to rain, frost, snow, sludge and ice. Councils agree that safety is a priority, however due to the stormy weather over recent months, it has been difficult for highway engineers to keep up with the repairs.

Defective roads causing havoc

Water naturally seeps into the road surface through tiny cracks under the surface, vehicles then add pressure to the roads so they move. As the winter months pass and temperatures drop, the seeping water suddenly freezes and expands repeatedly. As temperatures rises the expanded ice under the road surface eventually melts creating holes. At first the holes are tiny, but with repeated freezing and thawing they eventually turn into bigger holes. Sometimes these big holes can join causing massive potholes and defective roads.

Defective roads are constantly inspected, but not all roads can be resurfaced immediately. Recently, flooding has been an issue in many areas, this means these roads cannot be accessed and diversions have to be created using temporary road signs.

Highway engineers have to prioritise all defective roads whereby emergencies can be temporarily made safe within a couple of hours. Temporary repairs to defective roads can be permanently repaired at a later date. Roads with minor defects are usually repaired within a couple of months, however this depends upon your local council.

Temporary road fillings involve cold materials to fill in a pothole. Permanent road fillings are more complex so potholes are cut out using a diamond bladed saw and then cleaned out. Afterwards, potholes are painted with liquid bituminous and filled with hot bitumen, finally it is raked and compacted.

Temporary fillings are important due to making the roads safe, the process is a cheap quick fix until highway engineers can prioritise them. Permanent fillings require roads to be closed for long periods of time. Temporary diversions will often be created, which can form large tailbacks and delays.

Recent headlines of extreme sinkholes suddenly opening up suggest how weak our roads have become. These major sinkholes are a result of our increased rainfall and water passing through underground.

A fifteen-foot sinkhole suddenly opening up on the M2 central reservation in Kent near junction 5 has caused devastation. This road has been closed off in both directions until the Highway Agency can inspect the hole and make the necessary repairs. Drivers have been urged to use the M20 instead.

A thirty-foot sinkhole suddenly appeared in a couple's driveway in High Wycombe, which swallowed their daughters Volkswagen Lupo car. Thankfully, nobody was hurt.

A thirty-five-foot sinkhole suddenly opens up in Hertfordshire whereby three people have died. As a precaution, seventeen houses have had to be evacuated.

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