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On this page you can find:

What is a pothole?

A pothole is a hole in the road that is deeper than 50mm and 100mm across in two directions at right angles to each other (perpendicular). They are 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.

This page gives a brief summary in relation to the identification and prioritisation of potholes, for the full Highways Maintenance Policy and General Principles and Highway Maintenance and Inspection Strategies please see our Road Strategies page

Prioritising potholes

We carry out regular inspections of the roads but also rely on the public reporting potholes to us. We inspect all reported potholes and risk assess them to prioritise their repair. They will either be classed as urgent or will be put into a planned programme of works to ensure they are repaired as efficiently as possible. The assessment will take into account many issues including the location of the pothole in the road and the type of vehicle that uses the road such as cars, motorbikes or pedal bikes.

Defect Assessment

Recorded defects are risk assessed during the inspection on a site specific basis. This allows other considerations that the inspector feels relevant to be factored into the risk assessment and is used to determine the level of response.

Risk Factor Score

The risk factor is the combination of likelihood and consequence assessments multiplied together. This will produce a range of scores from 1 to 16. It is this score that identifies the seriousness of the risk and consequently that appropriate level of response.

Defect Assessment table showing the relationship between Likelihood and Consequence

Programmed repairs

The vast majority of reported potholes are not assessed as urgent and are put into a programme of work. Following the risk assessment, the pothole will be categorised from Priority 1 (S1) to Priority 4 (S4). The timescale for the repair depends on the risk assessment and which type of road the pothole is on – County Routes (A, B and some C roads) and Local Roads (majority of C and unclassified roads). View the map at the bottom of this page.  County Routes are shown in red and blue on the map.

The table below shows the different classifications of potholes and the response time for repair.  

Image showing how the outcome of a risk assessment prioritises defect repair timescales *Where a S1 or S2 defect may require follow up treatment to affect a permanent repair, this will be undertaken as Priority 3 (S3) defect.

How do I report a pothole?

We are committed to delivering frontline services and putting customers first. If you are concerned about a pothole you can report a pothole to us online. 

Important messsage

Potholes fixed - September

Potholes fixed per borough/city/district are as listed below: 

When considering these numbers, remember that there are many more miles of road in Uttlesford than in Harlow, for example, and the balance of types of road (main, secondary, and local) are different too, so a direct comparison is misleading. Pavement (what engineers call footways) defects fixed are in the fourth column

DistrictCounty RouteLocal RoadPavement
Castle Point3118
Epping Forest92730