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Students design ‘hi-vis’ pothole

3rd March 2010

We’ve heard of the hi-vis vest – that most sartorial of all safety clothing items – but what about the hi-vis pothole?

A design student has come up with an innovative way of making our dreaded road craters more visible to the motorist.

And from where else could such a design ‘statement’ emerge? Italy, of course.

The ‘Street Safe Initiative’ has been created by Milan Polytechnic students, Domenico Diego and Cristina Corradini. It comprises a brightly-coloured layer of asphalt a few inches beneath the surface of the road, which becomes visible when the road surface breaks up, making potholes easier to see and avoid.

The unique design will be trialled later this year in Rho, a small town close to Milan, to determine if the project is viable and cost effective, after which Diego plans to market the product across Europe.

Amusingly, Diego had some rather high-brow comparisons to make about his creation when Potholes.co.uk spoke to him recently, likening the design to human skin.

“When we are wounded, we start to bleed. So our idea is to put a layer of yellow asphalt beneath the tarmac, which appears and creates a high chromatic contrast that is visible from a distance.”

Hmm, yes alright. Only in Italy...

It’s an interesting idea, but it doesn’t stop potholes appearing in the first place, which is our ultimate goal and, when Potholes.co.uk contacted one of the leading highway construction firms in the land, managing director Mike Conway dealt the whole concept a hefty dose of realism.

“It’s novel, but it’s rubbish,” he said. “It’s not the right solution for the UK right now. To make layers of tarmac stick together we use a bituminous coating that acts as a glue and you’d have to go right back to the manufacturing stage and work out how to make it bright yellow.

“We should be looking at how to reduce costs by doing the job right in the first place, rather than creating expensive solutions that only have an effect once the pothole is already there.”

Good to know the heavyweight likes of FM Conway are on the same side as Potholes.co.uk.

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