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You are here:home > Environment > Roads > Roads, highways and pavement maintenance > Potholes


As a Highway Authority, we have the responsibility for the maintenance of the Highway. We prioritise resources to keep the public safe, but are not able to repair every minor defect in the road surface. Report a pothole

More information on potholes

In determining the priority for repairing pot holes we consider the size and depth of the pothole; traffic type- speed and volume, road alignment, visibility and also the position of the pothole in relation to the road width.

Below are 2 examples of Potholes which have occurred on Southampton's roads.

Pothole 80mmPothole 50mm
Urgent Pothole 80mm (3in) Deep Non Urgent Pothole 50mm (2in) Deep

Our intervention levels are included in the frequently asked questions

Potholes - Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long will it take?

An intervention level is a trigger point for us to intervene when a defect occurs.  When inspecting potholes the intervention levels govern what priority is given to the repair;

Road Footpath Intervention Priority
Less than 40mm (1.6in) Less than 20mm (0.8in) No Action

40 - 75mm

(1.6 - 3in)

20 - 39mm

(0.8 - 1.5in)

6 Months (Where possible we endeavour to repair within 28 days)

75mm or more


40mm or more


24 Hours or less

If a section of the carriageway deteriorates and is less than 40mm deep it is not considered to be a pothole, the same principle applies to footways when less than 20mm deep. Nevertheless it may be indicative of a different problem.
A defect which is the required depth but does not extend more than 300 or 600mm may still be a defect in the carriageway or footway but is not technically classed as a pothole.

Potholes that do not meet intervention levels would require further excavation to repair.  If material were to be used without excavation it would be plucked out from the shallow depression by the passing traffic and the repair would only last a matter of days.

With limited resources available, the intervention levels are used for prioritising repairs.

2. When I report a pothole what happens next?

When you report a pothole to our street maintenance inspectors carry out an inspection.  All potholes reported by members of the public are inspected.

The pothole will need to meet our intervention levels before it is recorded as a defect. If the pothole meets there requirements a repair will be done and the length of time it will take will depend on its category.

Please remember, when reporting a pothole;

  • Try to provide a good location i.e. outside no. 4 or near lamp column no. 27
  • Provide as much information as possible that will help the inspector find the pothole you are reporting.

In addition to responding to the public our inspectors also identify potholes while carrying out routed safety inspections.  The whole city is inspected twice annually.

3. How do you repair a pothole?

A pothole repair involves the ‘cutting out’ of the weakened area to form a rectangular shape.  The hole is then cleaned out and painted with a coat of liquid bituminous binder.  This acts as an adhesive when the hole is filled with a layer of bitumen road surface material.

In some circumstances a temporary repair is carried out to ensure the immediate safety of the public.  This is a short term measure, with a permanent repair scheduled soon after.  Where possible we aim to carry out a permanent repair straight away.

If necessary, we will use traffic control when carrying out pothole repairs.

4. I have tripped on the footpath/damaged my car on the public highway. What next?

If you have fallen or damaged your property as a result of a possible pothole and you wish to report it please contact Actionline 0800 519 1919. The council's insurance department investigate compensation claims.

Contact information