/ Motoring

Can pizza fix our pothole problem?

Domino’s Pizza has taken to repairing potholes in the US and branding the tarmac with its logo. How would you feel about the UK following suit in allowing private companies to fix our roads?

Potholes are rarely out of the news these days. Last week, we learnt that the Mellor Brook Bypass in Balderstone, Lancashire is Britain’s worst affected road, and a recent report from the World Economic Forum ranked our thoroughfares 27th in the world in terms of quality in 2017-2018.

In May, the AA estimated that potholes now cost drivers and insurers at least £1m collectively a month on repair bills. It also reported that the number of claims for the first four months of 2018 already equal those for the whole of last year.

Earlier this year, the government announced a £100m fund for road repairs, but with estimates that it would cost around £12bn and take more than a decade for councils to clear the current backlog, this seems small fry.

Pizza action

So what can be done about this ‘national embarrassment’, as the AA calls it? Well, if we look to our friends across the Pond, salvation could come in an unlikely form: pizza.

Before you start imagining our roads being filled with stale margheritas and stuffed crusts (although that might actually work, going by the hard-as-nails stuffed crusts I’ve eaten in the past), this isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

Rather, fast food giant Domino’s Pizza has become so tired of waiting for potholes to be fixed (and having its pizza ruined in the delivery process), that it has taken to fixing them itself.

Over the course of a year, the Domino’s Paving for Pizza initiative will see it dispensing grants of $5,000 to 20 locations across the country to help the local administration fix its potholes.

So far, it has partnered with four towns and filled a couple of hundred potholes with tarmac, each branded with the Domino’s logo and the slogan: ‘Oh yes we did’.

The project also allows customers to nominate their own town for the Domino’s effect on their local roads.

Branded potholes

Currently, Domino’s has no plans to roll out the initiative in the UK, but how would you feel if local councils partnered up with private companies to help remedy our own pothole ‘epidemic’?

With little cash in their coffers to fix roads and the government fund unlikely to (excuse the pun) fill the hole, could it make sense for councils to get some extra help by offering an ‘Adopt a Pothole’ scheme, if you will?

What do you make of the idea? Are sponsored pothole schemes the way forward? Do you love or hate the thought of private companies being able to advertise on the tarmac in exchange for repairing the roads?

Or perhaps you feel local infrastructure should be solely the local government’s responsibility to uphold. Either way, let us know your views and ideas.

Comments

Perhaps prisoners from our gaols could be formed into work gangs and asked nicely to undertake supervised road repairs. It would help repay society, including what we pay for their food and accommodation.

Do you know how many US private prisons have been prosecuted for making inmates work for peanuts for commercial interests that have “lobbied “( if you know what I mean ) the owners of those prisons malcolm ? Guess whose husband in UK top politics has shares in the US private prison organisations ? Scandal after scandal, not only that I have the whole breakdown courtesy of a US investigation website on the whole private prison service there -shares-stocks- funds- you would be surprised at the massive monetary organisations running them in the background . Work gangs – Sam Cooke -Chain Gangs – well dont you know–thats the sound of the men working on the chain ga -a-ang -all day long there singing – hooh ! aah ! hooh ! aah ! all day long they work so hard till the sun is going down –working on the HIGHWAYS and BYWAYS and wearing a frown –you hear them moaning their lives away .

I will have that record going in the back of my mind for the next few hours now – thanks!

Same thing happens to me Roger .

Just found this in the Express from Feb 2017:

The EU just revealed its latest splurge…and if you’re a UK motorist it will drive you mad
BRUSSELS is set to blow £400 million renovating a 40-mile stretch of motorway in Poland whilst British roads crumble following decades of neglect.

Eurocrats announced a modernisation project for the DK7 highway near the city of Gdansk, on the Baltic coast, which will cost an eye-watering £10 million per mile.

A spokesman for the EU Commission explained that the cost was “higher than usual” because of the geography of the area, a former delta of the River Vistula which includes “very unfavourable soil conditions”.

British taxpayers will be expected to stump up just under £50 million for the project even though the country is set to leave the bloc, because the funding commitment has already been made.

Whilst northern Poland gets a shiny new motorway the UK’s road infrastructure is on the verge of collapse and has been compared to those of Namibia and Puerto Rico.

British councils recently complained that they do not have anywhere near enough cash to repair the country’s roads despite the Government pledging more money for infrastructure.

The £50 million being shelled out by UK taxpayers would be enough to fill in a whopping 877,000 potholes which cause daily misery to drivers across England and Wales.

This may be of interest too: What has the EU done for the UK? https://www.ft.com/content/202a60c0-cfd8-11e5-831d-09f7778e7377 via @financialtimes

Walking around Edinburgh you can see that the council has managed to disfigure the city in quite a few places throught the years, and it seems they haven’t learned from mistakes because they plan to carry on with this aesthetic massacre here and there, but somehow I don’t see them letting the New Town be disfigured further by branded pothole repairs. The schemes, however…

What has the EU done for the UK? That reminds me of Monty Python and ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7tvauOJMHo

I suspect the next tactic of the EU will be to send in The Spanish Inquisition – whom nobody expects.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJZ2m6_T1wc

Maybe they will arrive at Chequers this weekend.

A TRIPLE whammy of spending cuts, bad weather and record traffic levels has made Scotland’s potholed roads among the worst in Europe.. “They” haven’t done much there. When it is the UK that funds a substantial amount of what goes on in the poorer EU states (see Poland motorway above) it is simply helping us along the route to become a poorer state. Maybe when we reach that milestone the EU will help repair our potholes. I’d rather we stood on our own feet.

Stood on our own feet malcolm , yes I see where you are coming from but it might involve a bit of suffering at first but at least we will not be run by Mrs Merkel.

[Sorry, your comment has been edited to align with our community guidelines https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/. Thanks, Alex.]

Graham F Lewendon says:
6 July 2018

The EU has made it so that Cheese or any other food stuff such as “Cornish Pasties” if made to a regional methord & or recipie must comply with laid down requirerments proventing any company using name when there is no justifacation. This rule is same Rule that protects Champaine.
It introduced standards for fruit & vegertables to insure comfomity of quality and stopped potatoes being mudtatoes I can remember as a boy of 13 being given job of peeling the days “spuds” pan to be cooked after all who want’s to pay for mud in your shopping budget.
I used to hate lettice as it was not veggitarian being full of flies, slugs, bugs & Caterpillers after a intense wash & soaked in gallons of water. No im not a veggei I dont like contaminated veggertables on my plate.

It has widened our food range which pre 1973 was rather stuck in the duldrums.
Now its harder to buy mouldy cake which I recall father falling foul of once when he took ove the home while mother was hospitalised. Ok some folk overreact to the date stamps on packaging but the sulution is in front of you its called the nose! Bacon can mislead you into binning it within date due to a misunderstanding & a effect of the light with the same rainbow shean as seen on a CD its due to cutting againt the grain of the meat as Shown by “Food Uwrapped” team. smell it’ If its withindate not mouldy & in a heat sealed display pack its safe. After all we smoked & salted bacon centuries ago to preseve pork centuries ago long before seald packing

Graham F Lewendon says:
6 July 2018

I feel the main cause of many potholes stems from various utility companies together with endles new work done by housing developers digging up roads just after they have been resurfaced by the council reposable in that distric but is not the answer in the hands of planning departments to put a condition intor ant planning application to compel any person regardles of size to fully resuface any road section that is disturbed during any kind of work resulting in the road suface being opened for any reason including water gas sewage electrical contractors & cable / broadband & telephone utilities and any other distubances however so caused for any reason.

I have suggested this before because I think it is a very good suggestion. A bond should be retained by the council to cover the cost of any remedial work necessary in the 12 months after reinstatement.

In my opinion many reinstatements are superior to the original road surface. They are usually correctly formed, well consolidated, and bonded in at the seam.

There are many causes of potholes and many different techniques are required for repairing them. Defects in the original road surface are often the cause of the surface giving way and eventually breaking out due to the action of traffic and the weather. Dumping a dollop of bitumen in the cavity and patting it down with an iron plate on a bar is not a universal solution.

Councils already have powers to supervise and reject utility reinstatements. Are they exercising those powers satisfactorily? Following the excavation of the highway there is usually a temporary reinstatement followed in a few weeks by a permanent reinstatement after allowing the ground to settle and for further consolidation.

A local housing development had trenches dug in the road a year ago for the services. The reinstatement is now a patchy uneven rut with potholes.

I’m sure many utilities do a proper job, but councils should protect themselves, and us, from those that fail.

It sounds like the local highway authority has not done its job and made sure that the permanent reinstatement was carried out. Whichever company was responsible for opening the road should be pursued and made to finish the job properly.

A road I travel along quite often has been dug up three tines over the last two years – first for telecoms/cable, then for electricity, and then again for gas mains. Each time there was traffic control and long delays. A few months after it was supposedly all finished different contractors came back to reopen the gas main trench in various locations to check the joints as the gas volumes going in the pipe at one end were not matched by the volumes coming out at the other [pressure drop]. National Grid ordered yet another contractor to reopen the entire length of gas main trench and replace the pipes, joints and valves as they could not find the sources of the leaks. Again there were long delays and disruption to bus services and residential traffic. Over two miles of gas mains had to be renewed. At least the reinstatement has been completed satisfactorily. I just hope it is final.

Graham F Lewendon says:
6 July 2018

The motorist is not the nations cash cow so un-hand us befor our necks swing around and our horns lock with yours. There are many uninsurred, Untaxed road users that should be taxed, Who currently are not compeld to carry either kind of cover.

Graham, the motorist is a cash cow – over 60% of your fuel is tax (unless you use an electric car). You pay 20% on the purchase, servicing, consumables, you pay tax on your insurance, you pay VED (if you’re god-fearing), you probably pay vat on your parking fee…….Its actually quite a good way to collect tax, in my view. Where else would we get so much money from? Income tax?

Quite so – it’s very difficult to evade and it does not penalise the less well-off. Car owners can choose to have the most economical vehicle that meets their requirements and budget, or to have the most high-spec saloon they can afford to buy and run. It’s a very democratic form of taxation.