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Pothole maintenance

Bedford Borough Council is responsible for the management, maintenance and improvement of the non-trunk highway network in Bedford Borough.

The Council has a legal responsibility for the highway network in terms of keeping the highway available and safe for passage for the travelling public. It undertakes this duty in its role as the Highway Authority.

Report a pothole

Report a pothole 

(uses an interactive map to locate the issue). You can also use this online form for reporting street light faults and other highways-related issues.

Or contact our Highways Helpdesk:

Tel: 01234 718003


Highways Helpdesk
Customer Service Centre
2 Horne Lane
MK40 1RA

Highways inspection manual

Bedford Borough Council uses an inspection manual as a tool to identify and determine the types of defects which are likely to create a danger or serious inconvenience to users of the network or the wider community.

The inspection manual introduces the principle of defect risk assessment, helps to identify the most appropriate action in response to each defect found and assists to prioritise the wider highway network maintenance and management function.

View the Highways inspection manual (PDF).

Categorising repairs

Repairs normally fall into two categories – the smaller repairs, defined as Category 1 or Category 2 defects according to their severity, which are carried out to make the roads and pavements safe, and the larger repairs such as relaying kerbs or resurfacing roads. These are usually planned many months (or even years) in advance.

Traditional methods of surface attention are:

  • making good any safety defects identified by Inspectors by “patching” to replace failed surfaces
  • resurfacing by replacing the top layer
  • reconstruction by digging down to base level, relaying the base level and resurfacing
  • surface dressing by hot bitumen and loose stones (used in rural area only as a rule)


Potholes in the carriageway are normally caused by a combination of:

  • a weak point in the road surface
  • stress, primarily caused by vehicle loading
  • water penetration into the road sub structure accompanied by a freeze thaw cycle.

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