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Saturday, 02 August 2014

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Cumbrian garage sees 10 cars a week damaged by potholes

A Carlisle garage has revealed it sees 10 cars a week damaged by potholes after the Government announced another £5 million to improve Cumbria’s roads.

Michael Hamilton photo
Kwik Fit centre manager Michael Hamilton with a damaged wheel

The Department of Transport revealed it was setting aside £4.8m for the county to tackle the problem, part of a £168m national programme.

The money has been welcomed by Cumbria County Council – responsible for maintaining the roads – which deals with around 40,000 defects in a year.

Michael Hamilton, the manager at Kwik Fit in Junction Street, Carlisle, said that around 50 cars were brought in each week and added: “Maybe 20 per cent of them are damaged by potholes.”

Pothole damage to vehicles included damaged wheel rims; wheels out of alignment; irregular tyre wear; and damage to suspension components.

He said: “It is bad. I wouldn’t say there’s a specific area that people are coming from saying it is a problem but we do have our fair share of damage.”

The most recent announcement of cash is on top of £3m from the Government in March following the severe winter.

The county council pledged £3m in its planned road repair programme for 2013/14, and a further £29.3 million during the current financial year.

Councillor Keith Little, the cabinet member responsible for highways and transport, welcomed the latest news.

“Our highways team has brought home the bacon for Cumbria, with an innovative bid that puts us in the top pack of local authorities competing for this fund,” he said.

He said the extra cash would help make a huge difference across the county, which has 5,000 miles of maintained roads, adding: “People are going to see a lot more activity on the roads in the forthcoming months – with highways repair teams out in force doing those jobs that perhaps have been niggling communities for some time now.

“We’ll be working with our local members and local communities to firm up the priorities for the work and we’re nentering into a really exciting programme, which I believe will deliver a lasting and visible benefit to the county’s highways.”

Tim Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, has been fighting for more cash to fill potholes and said the latest news would provide relief to frustrated motorists.

He added: “I have been champing at the bit to get this extra funding secured.

“Potholes are an aggravation to drivers – and can cause damage to cars and even lead to accidents.

“I’m delighted that the Government have responded to my concerns – as part of the biggest investment in roads since the 1970s.”

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