Authorities hunting for mystery person who repaired a large pothole

Originally published at: Authorities hunting for mystery person who repaired a large pothole | Boing Boing


Has Rod Stewart got a holiday home in Cornwall?


“hunting” sounds about right; better not to be caught, mate:

idiocracy, fuck yeah!


But why?

If it’s a material or personal availability issue why not use the road if it is satisfactory condition for the next month? I get the long term durability might not be up to par for this fix, but if it works… Of course that simply implies that Cornwall Highways is somewhat incompetent and can’t be bothered to do a quick patch for the sake of the community.


Hooray, a pothole repair topic! Do we have a suitable bingo card ready?


Or Arnold?


For when you absolutely, positively have to fix a pothole but there’s no way you’re going back inside for vigilante asphalt repair again:


Insurance liability I guess. The proper people didn’t fix it, so they don’t know what’s in the hole…


It’s a nice thought, but we can’t have vigilantes repairing infrastructure. It’s dangerous because we have no idea what they did, and now it costs a lot more to fix it properly, requiring more time, equipment, and materials.

What was the slump rating on the concrete they used? What size aggregate? How did they bond it to the asphalt? Did they properly clear and shape the hole before pouring it? There are dozens of other questions like this that need proper answers.

These are not just long term longevity questions as you suggest, they are immediate safety concerns. Done incorrectly, such a repair can make the road more dangerous than it was with the pothole. Concrete is a lot tougher than asphalt, so now the weak borders of the pothole will continue to crack and break away, leaving a giant concrete boulder in the middle of the road. There are good reasons we don’t repair asphalt with concrete, related to temperature differentials, weather responses, frost heaving, etc. However, Captain DIY there doesn’t know enough to know what he doesn’t know about all this.

Furthermore, now it requires a jackhammer, excavation, and repaving a large area to fix their “fix”. The pothole could have been fixed with a two-person road crew in an asphalt truck.

I get that it’s frustrating when the municipality doesn’t fix things, but people need to channel that energy into the bureaucratic process to get it fixed, not DIY hubris.

Public infrastructure is not a shed kit from Home Depot and your dad doesn’t know how to fix it just because he thinks he does.


Indeed, who knows what might be under that patch


If I was the vigilante - as a temporary and removeable measure, I’d be tempted to fill it with small crushed gravel and then use landscaping glue to keep it in place. Could be easily chipped out when they are ready to fix for good. If the gravel is small enough it would fit into the non-regular void and potentially be less of an issue of concrete eating away at the soft asphalt.


Also - I have no knowledge of street science and I’m sure it’s a bad idea for many reasons.


You are absolutely correct on all points but, I’d be surprised if our local council did any better of a job fixing the roads than some randomer with a bag of cement these days (n.b. I am about as far away from Cornwall as you can get and still be in England, but councils are councils).


Local residents all over the UK expressed their frustration with potholes recently by voting over 1,000 Conservative councillors out of office with the result that the Conservatives lost control of 45 or more local councils.


I believe the perpetrator’s name is one Ron Swanson.


Yah, I get that, and I totally get why peoples’ frustration with the system drives them to stuff like this. The problem is that this kind of stuff is actually making it worse, not better. Because now that incompetent council has to solve a larger problem in two weeks when that “repair” starts failing. Or worst case scenario, someone could genuinely be hurt by what was done here.


I was going to say the same thing. Everything @VeronicaConnor said is bang on, especially this bit…

But I’ve watched the way our local government fills potholes. It’s a couple of dudes with a shovel and some asphalt. They don’t even care enough about what they’re doing to put up pylons to keep themselves safe on the road. The official work is pretty haphazard.

I still don’t think the average human should ever get involved with repairs like this.


Right, but a civil engineer has developed that road patching process such that even if done by two underpaid half-drunk ne’er-do-wells, it’s still a repair that will hold up well and not hurt anyone. The technology of the asphalt, the oil, the heater in the truck, and the simple technique of packing the asphalt with the rear axle of the truck is very effective and easy to do with the right equipment and supplies. Jimmy’s Dad Who Has Tools can’t do any of that.

Civil engineering is a much about processes as anything else. A well engineered process obviously accounts for the unmotivated people carrying out that process. Those two haphazardly working guys are a feature, not a bug. It means it’s a good process that the town can execute cheaply.


I hadn’t considered that aspect of it.

Road repair is a bit of a touchy subject in this town because they’re all terrible (like most roads everywhere). People have even tried the spray painting dicks over the potholes to get them fixed.


Now this is direct civil action I can get behind! :smile: This is genuinely a pretty good idea, in my humble opinion. It makes a statement of protest, draws attention to the issue, nobody can get hurt, it doesn’t cost anything appreciable to fix (a little power washing is all) and motivates the town to fix it.

I have to be careful about speaking too much on this topic though, because I have no understanding or appreciation of UK Councils and all the issues with them. I gather the issues are vast and overwhelming.