Somerset County Council

Report a pothole or road defect


You can report a pothole or defect on the highway using the button below.

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When contacting us, please provide as much information as possible that will help the inspector locate the pothole:

  • Your name and telephone number, in case we need to contact you 
  • The location of the pothole or road defect including post code, the road name and parish 
  • Is the pothole/defect outside a specific property, for example outside Number 4, or near lamp column number 27 
  • Provide as much information as possible that will help the inspector find the pothole you are reporting  

When you report a pothole or road defect we will inspect it within 3 working days, and programme remedial work where required.

Potholes (How and Why?) 

A pothole occurs when the surface of the road or footpath has been eroded and a hollow is formed.

When the surface ages it becomes more porous and rainwater penetrates it through cracks.  In wet conditions the pressure created by car tyres passing over the area forces water further down into the road surface weakening it.

In cold and wet weather conditions 'freeze-thaw' occurs.  This causes a faster deterioration of the surfaces, because the water which had filled the cracks freezes and expands, loosening chunks of the surface material.

Once a pothole has formed it will grow in size as traffic continually dislodges and removes weakened and broken pieces of the surface.

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 bitiminous binder.  This acts as an adhesive when the hole is filled with a layer of bitumen road surface material.

General information

We repair potholes and other road defects to ensure safe access for all road users, and to maintain the structure of the road or footway in accordance with our Highway Safety Inspection manual. 

We have the responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the highway. We repair potholes and other defects on the road to ensure safe access for all road users and to maintain the structure of the road in accordance with our Highway Safety Inspection Manual.

The factors to be taken into account include size and depth of the pothole, exact location (carriageway or footway).  In addition, the type of traffic use; speed and volume, road alignment and visibility and the position of the pothole in relation to the road width. 

The worst weather conditions in 30 years have left roads across the country exposed to a condition known as 'freeze-thaw'.  This damages roads in wet and particularly freezing conditions.  Water gathering in cracks in the roads expands when frozen causing the surface to break up, which results in deeper than usual potholes appearing.  Once you have a weakness in the road the damage is compounded and accelerated by traffic.

Manhole Covers
Please contact us to report a manhole cover that is broken, collapsing, missing, very low or protruding above road level that might be dangerous to highway users. We will assess the cover and arrange remedial work as appropriate.  Please see "Related Services" for link to relevant web page.

It is useful to know who the owner of the cover is (for example Telephone, Gas, Water etc.), as it can speed up the process of repair/replacement. If the manhole is owned by a Utility Company we will request that the Utility Company fix the problem within 7 days. Alternatively, you can call the Utility Company directly to report a defect.

Paint marks on the road 
The marks made on the road compliment the record on our systems to help the contractor identify the exact spot when arriving to carry out the work.  The markings used (lines, dots) are dependant on what the person making them thinks will be most helpful, and have no particular meaning.  Any letters sprayed are probably just used as markers (cross-referenced within the description on our system) and will not necessarily have any particular meaning.

The markings only compliment the record on the system, they do not act on their own to request work to be done.  If members of the public add additional marks themselves this will not mean additional work is done, but may cause confusion and delay the work that had already been agreed.


Contact: Roads and Transport Team
Contact no: 0300 123 2224
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm and Sunday closed.

If an incident occurs outside these hours and is deemed a risk to public safety please contact the Police on 101.

If you need to visit a highway area office you can find the address of your local office here.

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