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Cumbria's 40,000 potholes will cost millions to repair

Millions of pounds is to be ploughed into repairing 40,000 potholes in Cumbria’s roads after wet weather wreaked havoc.

Pothole repairs photo

The funding package of £10.5m to clear the backlog of potholes – the scourge of motorists and cyclists – is part of a Cumbria County Council road repair programme.

Despite millions of pounds being removed from local authority budgets due to funding cuts, some £30m is to be invested in highways maintenance across the county – up around a third on previous years.

The severe wet weather over the last few months has been blamed for the poor condition of many rural roads in particular. Storms last month saw routes in Maryport, Allonby and Camerton closed due to flooding, with £500,000 set aside for repair work at Dubmill Point and Camerton alone.

One garage in Carlisle said it was repairing eight cars a week due to pothole damage and said drivers were “so very angry”. Last year Cumbria was named in the five worst-hit counties in the UK and said to be suffering from a plague of potholes.

The latest batch of repairs is to take place around Burgh by Sands, near Carlisle, with a stretch of road closing between Monkhill crossroads and the village from next Monday. It is expected to take five days and traffic will be diverted via Glasson.

In December the county was handed almost £6m of Government cash for road maintenance – amid warnings of a looming ‘pothole crisis’. A county council spokesman said they were making a “major investment” in highways maintenance.

“During this year, the council’s highways teams expect to repair over 40,000 reported road defects,” he said. “Winter weather has a significant impact on the condition of the roads, and the recent severe wet weather has damaged road surfaces.

“The council is spending all its available road maintenance budgets on preventative measures to keep the roads well maintained and fix defects as they occur to keep road users safe.”

Owner of Ushers Garage at Currock Road Trade Centre, David Usher said it was not only rural motorists who were suffering. They see around eight cars a week with damage related to potholes.

“Cars are brought in with broken front suspensions and broken springs,” said Mr Usher.

“Some come with two broken springs and this can cost upwards of £200. The only thing that can cause this kind of damage is potholes and sleeping policeman. Motorists are rightly so very angry. This is something that can be put right.”

County councillor for Dalston and Burgh, Trevor Allison said a survey was being carried out to determine the worst areas for potholes.

“I have always described the road at Cummersdale as like the ‘Third World’, but I know there are equally other roads that are bad for potholes,” he said.

“The money we have set aside is not enough to deal with the number of potholes we have, but a start is being made.”

Cumbria has one of the largest road networks of any English local authority, with nearly 5,000 miles of highways to maintain, serving many scattered rural communities as well as some 40 million visitors to the county.

The Department for Transport handed out grants in December to every highway authority in England to deliver “smoother, safer and more reliable journeys”. But the £215m pot was just a third of the estimated £600m of damage caused to roads nationally from a severe winter.

The Local Government Association (LGA) warned of the spread of dangerous potholes if the Government failed to overhaul the way roads maintenance is funded.

The average cost of repairing a pothole is £50.

In 2010/11 Cumbria County Council spent £19.2m of its own budget on road maintenance. This rose to £21.5m in 2011/12.

Have your say

On Wednesday this week I saw that the road leading from Distington to Pica had had some of the many potholes slapped with some tarmac filling. There are areas of this road which have patches of some 10 feet or more of numerous potholes. What I found so laughable was that from these bad patches (pun intended) a number of holes had been selected for a filling, yet within inches were others much worse that had not been filled. Even more crazy is that no matter which way the `filling` team approached they had driven over so many others which were in need of repair. Gilgarran Park Gilgarran has a number of seriously deep pot holes which just cannot be missed as due to the danger they have traffic cones next to them, these have not been touched for over a year now. Checking out this road on Google maps dated may 2009 even shows some of these bad holes which have never been filled to date. Thank god CCC have nothing to do with dental work!

Posted by edd on 3 April 2014 at 10:53

Forgot to say £50 is a fill in not a repair.

Posted by Anon on 20 March 2014 at 15:49

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