Speedier road patching trial in West Sussex sees ‘impressive results’

Trialling a quicker method of patching West Sussex’s roads when potholes crop up has yielded ‘impressive results’ so far, according to the county council.

A trial of Velocity's road patching system is taking place in West Sussex
A trial of Velocity's road patching system is taking place in West Sussex

The system has been deployed proactively to treat areas of the carriageway even before routine inspections have highlighted issues.

So far more than 1,100 separate repairs have been made with approximately 5,500 square metres of patching as the trial with Velocity reaches the half-way mark.

How Velocity works:

Cabinet member Joy Dennis and Velocity managing director Dominic Gardner

• High-velocity air is used to remove all dust and debris and open-up cracks at the bottom of the pothole to ensure a solid, stable repair

• A cold bitumen emulsion is forced into every crack and crevice under pressure, sealing it and making it water-tight

• The operator switches on the aggregate mix, which is fired at high velocity through a nozzle, evenly coating the granules with bitumen emulsion and building up the waterproof seal, with no joints

• If required, the aggregate mix is compacted with a “wacker plate” and the repair is traffic ready – far faster than by traditional methods, reducing the time needed for traffic management.

Dominic Gardner, Velocity managing director, said: “There’s no excavation, no waste, often no need for road closures, and repairs are ready to drive on in minutes. The repairs cost a third of the price of traditional techniques, and because there’s no heat involved, it’s also exceptionally low on carbon emissions.”

Joy Dennis, county council cabinet member for highways and transport, witnessed the Velocity patcher in action. She said: “It was impressive and can be used both proactively and reactively. Officers are continually looking at innovation in the fight against potholes and, working with our contractors, exploring lower-carbon methods in maintaining the highway.”

Peter Walsh, area director for Balfour Beatty, said: “As the provider of highway maintenance services for West Sussex County Council, it’s rewarding to see our collective teams investing in better ways to deal with the challenge of potholes ahead of inspections and with the aim of improving the experience for all road users.”

The county council is responsible for maintaining around 2,500 miles of road.

To report a pothole online visit the county council’s website.

If a pothole is a significant and immediate risk to public safety, phone 01243 642105.