Motorway potholes smaller than 15cm no longer urgent

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The Highways Agency is setting a minimum size that a pothole has to be on a motorway or an A road before it is classed as urgent, meaning that many road defects will remain unfilled.

Only potholes more than 15cm wide or 4cm deep will be repaired urgently under new rules that come into effect in the West Country later this year and will be rolled out over the rest of the road network by 2015.


However, a Highways Agency statement said that this was the first time that the sizes of motorway potholes had been classified.

Previously, repair work on even minor defects had to be fixed within 24 hours, according to the Daily Mail.

The move mirrors the rest of the country's smaller roads, as it was announced back in May that the minimum depth that a pothole needed to be before repair was being increased from 2.5cm to 4cm.

Research has often showed that the annual repair bill to motorists with damaged cars is as much as £1bn, and could be on the rise. The average repair bill for pothole-induced damage is as much as £335, according to Warranty Direct.

The Highways Agency said that under the new rules, contractors would still have a responsibility to maintain a 'safe and even surface' on motorways.

Institute of Advanced Motorists director of policy Neil Greig said: "This just seems to be storing up larger repair bills for the future. All large potholes start off as small potholes - it's easier and cheaper to fix them early and reduce the risk to road users.

"The reaction of the Highways Agency to this crisis is worrying because it seems to be an attempt to switch their legal responsibilities to maintain safe motorways and trunk roads from themselves to their contractors, in the hope they will come up with something."