Pothole whack-a-mole: TotalEnergies responds to 2024 National Pothole Day
New figures released to mark National Pothole Day shows that pothole damage to vehicles reached a five year high in 2023, with the AA dealing 631,852 pothole-related incidents – more than any year since 2018.
In the face of an ever-mounting backlog of pothole repairs, National Pothole Day is a stark reminder of both the worsening condition of UK roads and the scale of maintenance improvements required across English and Wales. While the UK Government has £150 million allocated in funding for potholes in 2024, with £8.3 billion pledged over the next 11 years, many in the industry feel more is required.
Commenting on National Pothole Day, Gary Schofield, Head of Technical - Bitumen Division, TotalEnergies UK, said:
"Pothole reports reaching a 5-year high is a reminder that we can no longer simply patch up the potholes and hope for the best for our UK road network. Patchwork solutions are failing, costs are rising and the backlog is overwhelming.
With budgets limited, councils are increasingly under pressure to do more with less. This has caused some shift away from use of higher performance polymer modified binders to basic penetration grade binders. A consequence of this can be the early failure of the road surface - potentially in less than five years.
There needs to be a paradigm shift in the funding mechanism to enable durable designs and effective management throughout the life of the asset. Early detection and preventative maintenance is key. This means prioritizing long-term lifespan extension through design, surface treatments and planned resurfacing, coupled with innovative materials like warm mix asphalt.
Embracing this “whole-life” approach leads to cost savings and reduced disruption, but also to safer and more sustainable roads.
The recent National Pothole Day was a timely reminder of the need for a new long-term funding approach, so that industry can build more resilient and sustainable critical infrastructure for the future.”
In pursuit of a more resilient, better performing highways network, TotalEnergies continues to develop, test and bring to market new products and solutions.
Styrelf's cross-linked bitumen-polymer formula delays oxidative aging, reducing early-stage heat vulnerability and long-term cracking. This translates to significantly extended service life and minimized maintenance interventions, optimising resource allocation within highway networks.
ECO² bitumen, meanwhile, produces asphalt at temperatures 40°C lower than traditional Hot Mix Asphalt. This can significantly enhance productivity and reduce the time needed to reach service temperature - enabling increased material placement per shift. Additionally, ECO²'s reduced energy footprint supports the environmental objectives of users – both local authority and contractor – helping deliver more sustainable road construction.