Are Big Holes Cheaper To Repair?
Written by: BlackPhi
I’ve recently been noticing a large increase in surface damage on Caversham’s roads: holes, cracks and general break-up. This is unpleasant when I’m driving my car, more challenging on a scooter, and downright ‘interesting’ on a pushbike. At first I just put it down to cuts; I can see an argument that social care should take priority over road surfaces. But then a couple of questions struck me:-
Firstly, just why is the road surface in such a poor state this year? It’s not as though we’ve just had a particularly hard and frosty winter to break the surface up. Is it a result of long-term neglect? Or is it simply that the roads always break up like this, but in previous years the council have been so efficient that it’s not been as obvious?
Secondly, does it really save money in the medium term to leave the surface to break up this way? Hence my question in the title. In a house it generally works out cheaper to repair damage while it is still minor, because once the elements get behind the surface protection the harm they do becomes much more serious, and costly. I would have thought something similar would apply to roads: the waterproof surface layer protects the lower layers, so once it is gone then I’d expect the rate of damage to increase. On the other hand, roadworks to do repair work carry their own costs, both financial and in terms of driver convenience. Caversham traffic grinds to a halt at the slightest excuse anyway … and roadworks don’t help.
So, this is a genuine question. Somebody somewhere has presumably done some thinking about how best to use resources: is it really cheaper to leave the road surface to break up – just fixing the largest, most dangerous holes – or is it simply a short-sighted way of loading more cost onto council taxpayers in years to come? What do you think?