Find out here which are Cumbria's most pothole-ridden roads


The most pothole-ridden roads in Cumbria have attracted thousands of complaints from motorists in the last two years - with the worst offending highways in the county revealed today.

The A6 - which runs from Carlisle in the north to Kendal in the south - is officially the county's most complained about road, with 176 holes reported in the last two years.

Information uncovered from Cumbria County Council's data files shows the C2042 Carlisle to Burgh by Sands route lies in second place - with 145 potholes reported.

And the B5087 coast road from Ulverston to Barrow comes in third, with 111.

We know the kind of damage that's out there. We just need the money to do it.

Overall, a league table shows Cumbria's 30 worst carriageways had 2,256 holes along their surface - causing a hazard for drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Councillor Keith Little, Cumbria's highways chief, explained repairs to the county's roads network were ongoing.

"We know the kind of damage that's out there," he said.

"We just need the money to do it.

"Cumbria is one of the largest highways authorities in the country.

"We get around £70m a year to spend on our highways, but we estimate there is around £280m to £300m of damage on the surface at any one time.

"We try to get the best value for money and to respond as quickly as possible to reports.

"But there's still a lot of work to be done, we're aware of that."

Other roads to feature high up the list of most potholed roads include the A684 - which runs from Kendal to north Yorkshire - with 97 potholes, the B5307 from Abbeytown to Carlisle, with 96 holes along its 17 mile stretch, and the 25 mile long B5299 from Aspatria to Carlisle, via Caldbeck and Dalston, which has 93.

They were close to 17,000 highways faults reported to the authority in 2016/17.

Potholes have to be a minimum size and depth before they are considered a hazard in highways terms - with those that meet the criteria prompting a repair.

The worst category - deemed an immediate danger to road users - must be fixed and filled within 24 hours to ensure they do not cause an accident or harm to a member of the public.

 Keith Little

Keith Little

But Mr Little said some go unreported, prompting the authority to launch a dedicated report-a-pothole website earlier this year.

"We are grateful to the general public, motorists and members of parish councils for telling us where they are," he said.

"Once we are aware of them they are identified on our system and we are liable for patching and dressing them as quickly as possible.

"Sometimes though, local people become familiar with a pothole on a regular route and drive around it, thinking we know about it already when we might not."

Potholes happen most often in spring and autumn when water gets into the surface, freezes and expands.

But the pressure and wear of heavy vehicles on the roads also causes damage to the surface, eventually leading to a break that increases in size rapidly.

Among the notable damaged routes in the north of the county is the A7, which runs through the city to the England-Scotland border.

 Kingstown Road, Carlisle

Kingstown Road, Carlisle

A broken stretch at Kingstown Road, near the edge of the city, is negotiated by thousands of motorists every day.

Copeland Council representative Allan Forster works with the Hensingham Residents' Group in Whitehaven.

He said potholes were one of the biggest cause of complaints from members of the community.

"People are concerned the larger holes are very dangerous and they can also cause damage to cars," he said.

"I pass them on to the county council which is responsible.

"But everything comes down to budget and getting enough of it."

 Allan Forster

Allan Forster

The league table, compiled using data accessed via the Freedom of Information laws, shows the north of the county suffers the most potholes, with roads in the south east also badly affected, along with three key routes in Furness.

Across the UK, it is estimated around one in 10 mechanical failures, particularly those associated with wheel, suspension and axle failure are thought to be caused by potholes.

Driving instructor Donald Forrester, who runs the Ulverston based Roadworthy Driving School, spends his working day on Cumbria's roads.

Mr Forrester added: "When you know the potholes are there you can avoid them, but if you hit one it's a really unpleasant feeling.

"I see the teams out working on them, particularly in the winter, so I think they're doing their best.

"But I suppose there are just too many overall to keep the roads completely clear."

The top 10:

– A6 - 176

– C2042 (Carlisle to Burgh by Sands) - 145

– A5087 (Ulverston to Barrow coast road) - 111

– A684 (Kendal to north Yorkshire) - 97

– B5307 (Abbeytown to Carlisle) - 96

– B5299 (Aspatria to Carlisle via Caldbeck and Dalston) - 93

– A592 (from near Redhills, running south to Newby Bridge) - 88

– B5305 (Penrith to Wigton) - 79

– A596 (Thursby to Lillyhall) - 79

– A591 (Keswick to Sizergh) - 78

Other notable roads:

– A7 (north Carlisle to England-Scotland border) - 63

– A65 (near Kendal) - 56

– A689 (Brampton to Carlisle, then city western bypass) - 51

Highways - factfile

:: Cumbria is one of the least densely populated counties in England, but the fourth largest highways authority;

:: Responsibility for its 7,900km of carriageway falls to Cumbria County Council;

:: The authority receives about £70m a year from the government to pay for roads upkeep and repair;

:: But highways chiefs claim there is about £280m to £300m of damage to roads surfaces at any one time;

:: In 2016/17 Cumbria County Council was allocated £1.444m by the Department of Transport from a Pot Hole Action Fund;

:: Potholes are the most common complaint reported by the public;

:: The council's highways team aims to tackle potholes of more than 10cm within 24 hours.

State of the art 'plastic road' trials deemed a success in Cumbria

Waste plastic is being recycled into roads resurfacing in Cumbria following a successful first-of-its-kind trial near Carlisle.

The project saw used plastic transformed into pellets that have replaced some of the bitumin used to resurface the carriageway on the A7 into Carlisle.

The scheme, which is more environmentally friendly and is also thought to extend the life of road surfaces, is now to be rolled out to other areas by Highways England - the Government organisation in charge of motorways and major A roads.

It is also reported to be cost effective as it reduces the amount of plastic destined for landfill, something Cumbria County Council has to pay for.

Cumbria pothole row led to multi-million pound legal case

A dispute between council chiefs and highways contractors over the quality of pothole repairs in Cumbria led to a legal case costing millions of pounds from the public purse.

Cumbria County Council awarded a contract for maintaining the county's roads and highways to private firm Amey in 2005.

But the relationship turned sour when the council withheld a payment of £4.2m due to concerns over the quality of repairs carried out.

The county council was last year ordered to pay £11.6 million to Amey following a 42-day High Court trial, while also covering its own legal costs - which totalled £10m.

No-one within the authority was ever sacked or disciplined over the issue, senior officers have confirmed.

Katherine Fairclough, who became chief executive in March, promised lessons had been learned from the case.

"Steps have already been taken to respond to the recommendations and we are confident that the additional action plan will also help drive forward the improvements that are needed and will help us avoid any similar issues in the future," she said.

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peter   aley , barrow in furness Wednesday, 04 October, 2017 at 11:16AM
Cumbria council is wasting millions on sub standard pothole repairs. Appoint a clerk of works to monitor and visit repair sites and make contractors due a proper job. Some contractors leave a lot to be desired.
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