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Cycling hotspot Surrey's roads get some much needed surface improvements

Council and Citroën team up to give the area a much-needed spruce up

Pothole
Joseph Delves
8 May 2019

As I can confirm from riding there at the weekend, the age of austerity has not been kind to Surrey’s roads. Home to the famous (if secretly quite easy) climb of Box Hill, along with a bunch of punchier but lesser-known lumps, the area has long been a cycling mecca. At least if you live in the South-East.

However, with some of the busiest roads outside of London, Surrey's tarmac takes a regular beating from both cyclists but mostly drivers. Add in the freezing temperatures that affected much of Great Britain in early 2018 courtesy of anticyclone Hartmut, aka the Beast from the East, and these roads found themselves facing a perfect storm.

All of which means that despite its generally wealthy residents, the region's roads seem to have been bused in straight from the 1970s.

It’s a picture repeated across the country. Last year more than 905,000 potholes were reported on UK roads. On top of this around one-fifth of the English and Welsh road network is judged to be in poor condition, while up to 41,575 miles of road across the UK are likely to need remedial work within the next five years.

Back in Surrey the number of potholes reported last February and March was more than double the seasonal average, and the council was soon announcing an additional £20 million would need to be spent.

Part of a two-year programme of improvements that's now halfway through, more than 270 roads in the area have already been improved.

No doubt hoping to generate themselves some good PR, car maker Citroën has teamed up with Surrey County Council to try and further remedy the situation.

Spraying out from a giant nozzle, Nu-Phalt Contracting’s high-tech Jetpatcher might lack the romance of the traditional boiler for making hot asphalt, but it does allow for the road to be patched in a couple of minutes.

Having also enlisted the help of former rugby player and keen cyclist Austin Healey, between them they’ve already filled over 200 potholes.

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