Potholes repair costs plugged

A new material used to fill in the potholes on the region’s roads is proving to be both more robust and cheaper to use, according to the council.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the DG First management committee, elected members agreed to a further expansion of the use of the alternative patch repair material, called Viafix, after a successful trial.

Four years ago Dumfries and Galloway Council agreed to change the way in which carriageway defect repairs were to be undertaken and also to a continuing review of working practices. DG First were subsequently given a one off allocation of £626,000 from the council’s Policy and Resources Committee to finance the improvements.

According to a report from council officials to elected members ahead of the meeting in Dumfries, the new patching regime has been “successful with very few first time permanent patches having to be replaced.”

A year ago, the council decided to trial Viafix after getting positive reports on the material’s performance from Scotland Transerv, after the Government body trialed the material on the trunk road network with in Dumfries and Galloway.

The benefits to Viafix are speed of repair, interruptions to traffic are minimal, minimum plant is needed, it requires little water to instigate a chemical reaction, there is little waste material and it has a low carbon footprint. Viafix was never intended to be an alternative material for mainstream first time permanent repairs, but is a material that could be used to deal with certain defect situations.

When Viafix is used at suitable locations such as high traffic sites, wet conditions and when major works are planned then the cost benefit can be between 61 per cent and 70 per cent.

Foe example, an out-of-hours repair of approximately five square meters would previously have cost the council £1620 to repair using two tonnes of hot rolled asphalt; seven men (three on traffic management and four repairing the patch) as well as paying a sub-contractor for a hotbox.

The same size of repair using Viafix cost £981 as the material is cheaper and only needs two men to compete the repair in half the time.

Dumfries and Galloway has the third longest roads network in Scotland, with 4,151km of roads to maintain. A complete survey of the local road network in November 2013 found 4,500 defects. By November 2014 this figure was down to 1,437 defects.

There are 345km of trunk roads in Dumfries and Galloway, which the council isn’t responsible for maintaining. There are also unadopted roads that the council isn’t responsible for.