Investing in Bristol’s infrastructure

Councillor Donald Alexander, smiling with trees and College Green in the background.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Donald Alexander, Cabinet member for Transport and Labour Councillor for Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston.

Keeping Bristol’s roads in good condition is essential to create a well-connected city, that is easy for people to travel around. That’s why I’m pleased that the council is investing over £9 million to continue our important highways improvement work and help keep the city moving.

We’ve secured over £8 million from the Combined Authority to carry out essential maintenance and deliver transport schemes, and we’ve allocated a further £1 million towards these projects.

This work will help to drive growth and productivity in the city by improving highways connections, ensuring that everyone in Bristol can get to where they need to go. Part of this package includes the Pothole Action Fund, which totals £1.4 million for important road repairs and surfacing works.

I know that potholes are a pain for any for any road user, so I’m happy to share more detail about how we’re taking action before potholes become a problem.

What have we done so far to reduce potholes?

Our teams work hard throughout the year to keep our road surfaces in good condition, making sure that Bristol’s streets and footways are safe for everyone to use. Between 2016/17 and 2021/22 the number of potholes on Bristol’s roads were reduced from 4649 to 1838, this is a 60% decrease. Over the last 12 months, the highways team have repaired over 2,500 potholes on our roads, footpaths, and bridges and we’ve averaged an impressive 691 total defect repairs each month.

This is vital to ensuring our streets are safe and accessible for all road users, to prevent accidents and make sure journeys are pleasant for everyone whether walking, cycling, or driving.

But despite this great progress, I know that keeping our roads healthy is a constant undertaking that’s made harder in the winter months when the weather is worse and challenged further by historic under-investment both locally and nationally.

The funding we have secured for highways works will help us face this challenge head on and ensure the people of Bristol have the safe roads that they need.

Tackling the problem early

We take a preventative approach to maintaining our streets to make sure that we carry out repair works at an early opportunity to avoid the state of the road surface from worsening further. This is recognised as industry best practice and can also reduce the carbon emissions involved in highways maintenance.

We collate reports of potholes and road defects received by members of the public as well as analysis from detailed surveys and inspections carried out by staff. Issues that have the risk of deteriorating if left untouched are prioritised for repair first to prevent further damage.

Over the next year, work will be carried out to repair road or path surfaces that have been damaged by busy traffic and wear. Weak spots will be strengthened to manage structural issues in the road surface ahead of surface dressing where the road is sprayed with a hot, tar-like material called bitumen and will then covered with stone chippings and rolled flat.

Anyone can report a pothole or any other road damage on our website to help us fix it. So, if there is a pothole problem on your street, I would encourage you to report it as soon as possible.