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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Cumbria's roads named worst in north west

Cumbria has the most decrepit roads in the north west, according to a survey published today.

Thirty-four per cent show “some deterioration” and require investigation, while 10 per cent show “considerable deterioration” and will need treatment in the next 12 months, according to a survey published today.

That compares with national averages of 25 per cent and five per cent respectively.

The survey has been compiled by the GMB union using Department for Transport figures.

Paul McCarthy, GMB regional secretary, said: “It is clear from the official data that our roads are in a shocking state with almost a third needing attention.

“Many roads are so broken up and strewn with potholes that motorists are suffering damage to wheels and suspension, with compensation claims up by 40 per cent in some parts of the country.”

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show that Cumbria County Council paid almost £1 million in compensation between 2008-9 and 2010-11.

Mr McCarthy added: “Local authorities are cutting back on road maintenance because of the budget cuts forced on them by the Government so the problem is likely to get worse.

“Even when repairs are carried out, it is often done on the cheap to a low standard so it’s soon in a mess again.

“Every community has a right to expect decent roads and councils should be recognising this as a priority.”

Cumbria is at a disadvantage compared with other local authorities in the north west because of its sparse, rural nature. This means the length of road per head of population is far greater.

Despite that, the county council claims to have made great strides in reducing the time it takes to fix potholes.

Councillor Tony Markley, the cabinet member responsible, said: “We have 7,800 kilometres of road and a population of only 500,000 so we are on a hiding to nothing in that respect.

“But our roads are vastly improved compared with what they used to be like.

“The people I speak to say Cumbria’s roads are far better than some others they drive on. Despite the spending squeeze, we haven’t cut the budget for road maintenance.”

The council had hived off road maintenance to an outside contractor, Amey, but took back responsibility last year, claiming it was more efficient to carry out the work itself.

Its ‘Better Highways’ initiative has cut the average turnaround time for repairs from 217 days to as few as five.

Tell us about the state of the roads where you are - and send us your pictures.

You can email News.Carlisle@cngroup.co.uk, leave a message on our Talkback line 01228 612300, write to The Editor, News & Star, Newspaper House, Dalston Road, Carlisle CA2 5U or leave the details below.

You can send your photos to Pictures.Carlisle@cngroup.co.uk or text them to NS PIX (only standard network charge apply) at 88833.

Have your say

We still have wartime EWS (Emergency Water Station) signs thankfully on many of Carlisle city roads. Some being listed (underground) as EWSu. I've heard from the national news, some fear drowning on large potholes. In regard the national fanaticalness for road signs, why no signs for beware danger of potholes for all road users? In this regard our narrow Granville Road, near the much used main hospital of the Cumberland Infirmary was not built for the volume of today's traffic. Indeed many carry high traffic levels day and night. Many roads city and county are now a complete mess and it is now no wonder the nearby (emergency) ambulance services are less likely to use the narrow Granville Road road with a often seen drivers detour to Caldewgate roundabout. I blame highways for not seeing unroadworthness. Shoddy repairs. Fill it in. Quick press doe'snt last longer than weeks. One could blame many drivers despite 20mph sign just rip the road up for a quick route to wherever they're going... They know so many national roads are shockingly bad, road conditions are their too see if driving carefully, so why have audacity to complain and sue if car is damaged. Equally with private lanes on our road used by others to cheat parking restrictions why should drivers expect no-car owning residents to foot the bill for filling potholes that now seemingly help reduce unwanted road traffic of four wheels with some van varieties that terrify neighbours in trying to negotiate narrow backlanes not really built for them but home owners that would like to freely access their own garage's like myself.

Posted by Roy on 14 July 2012 at 08:53

It is far worse in Dumfries and Galloway.........the Government need to give more money so that these vital assets can be maintained. Some roads should be made into surfaced roads for unclassified roads with low traffic.

I would like to see two councils share roads maintenance as money could be saved.

I for one am critical of how they manage roads. My car has been damaged in Cumbrias roads and i ought to claim...

Posted by Fred on 13 July 2012 at 22:24

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