Potholes have always been a common problem for motorist but now it seems to be getting worse as councils cannot seem to keep on top of the amount appearing on our roads, meaning that it can go weeks or months before some potholes are even repaired. Potholes are caused when waters seeps in through the cracks on the road surface and gathers underneath softening the road base. When the water freezes it then expands and gets forced up to the road surface, with traffic adding extra stress. The sun then dries up the water creating a hole under the road surface. Weight of the traffic collapses the road surface into the hole. Finally a pothole is formed from where the road has collapsed and use of the road from the traffic expands the hole.
Recently the AA have conducted a survey of 18,000 motorists and found 76% of drivers say potholes should be filled within a week of being reported to authorities while 18% of drivers said that they should be repaired within 24 hours. The AA said that local authorities are expected to fill in the deepest and most dangerous potholes within a few hours, but if they are deemed less significant motorist can face several months of waiting before they are filled.
The AA president Edmund King called for the “worsening condition of our road network” to be addressed quickly to prevent deaths of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists, and to reduce compensation pay-outs for vehicle damage.” He went on to say that councils address potholes in different ways as one can repair a pothole in 3 weeks and one who repairs in 4 weeks. In addition a recent study by the Asphalt Industry Alliance found that local authorities need more than £12 billion of funding to bring the road network up to standard.
Last year in March 2016 sadly cyclist lost his life due to an ineffective pothole repair and was assessed by the council as only requiring further attention within 5 working days. The pothole problem in some areas of the country is becoming so bad that locals have taken upon themselves using unconventional methods to highlight the pothole whereabouts, to unsuspecting drivers. In Bath a gang of “guerrilla gardeners” have been decorating the death trap holes with flowers to raise awareness of the dangerous tarmac imperfections in the city.
A spokesman for the Local Government Association which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales said “Councils take the maintenance of their roads very seriously, fixing a pothole every 19 seconds. This amounts to 1.75 million potholes per year, at an average of over 10,400 per local authority.“
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