A Survery Reveals Potholes On Britain's Roads Get Worse

A survey of Britain's roads reveals 58% more dangerous holes opening up on major highways than this time last year, threatening to cause hundreds of pounds of damage to suspension and tyres.

The warning comes as the winter weather has begun and weather forecaster, Positive Weather Solutions, predicts another freezing winter ahead, with the cold weather and anticipated snow exacerbating pothole problems.

New figures from Halfords Autocentes show an 8% increase in tyre jobs, a 10% rise in balancing and alignment repairs, and a 15% rise in suspension jobs over the last year, since potholes became more widespread.

Bill Collins, technical manager for Halfords Autocentres stressed that potholes are a serious concern to motorists.

"Unfortunately, because of poor road repairs and the heavy rain during the summer, we are already facing a similar problem to what happened earlier in the year, only now we are at the start of the winter weather rather than at the end.

"The number of car owners coming to us with problems following collisions with potholes is increasing markedly. Damaged wheels and tyres, and broken steering and suspension components are becoming commonplace ailments in some areas and it's costing motorists dearly.

"The bill following a severe impact can be many hundreds of pounds, especially with more modern cars fitted with large alloy wheels, and their tyres provide very little protection against sharp impacts."

Potholes are estimated to cause one in five of all mechanical damages to vehicles and cost motorists £320m a year. They are a major factor in causing axel and suspension failure.

Councils have already spent over £100m repairing the 1.4 million potholes reported following last winter's severe weather.

Cyclists are also at risk of serious injury to themselves and damage to their bikes from hitting potholes prompting the current campaign of national cycling organisation, the Cyclists Touring Club, which has launched a campaign to highlight the problem.

Just under a third of potholes have been properly repaired, according to the CTC, leaving on average one pothole for every 110 metres of road.

The best local authority according to CTC for fixing potholes has been named as Cumbria followed by Cheshire West and Cheshire, then West Lothian, Newcastle, Norwich and Bolton, all of which have repaired 95% or more in their regions.

The worst is Dumfries and Galloway, Bedfordshire, West Dunbartonshire, Central Bedfordshire, Havering and Barnsley, which have repaired less than 10% of potholes.

Councils are estimated to have paid out £50m in compensation for damage caused by last winter's potholes, though thousands of motorists have complained they are still waiting for compensation claims to be resolved.

Whilst the Government has provided money for road repairs there are fears that another winter could leave roads substantially weakened.

11 January 2011 Staff

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