Hole lot of trouble: rainy winter causes record numbers of potholes

Hole lot of trouble: rainy winter causes record numbers of potholes

Hole lot of trouble: rainy winter causes record numbers of potholes

First published in News
Last updated

A WET winter, on top of a soggy summer, has created unprecedented numbers of potholes on Dorset roads.

Local councils are fighting a never-ending battle to repair roads that have been damaged by flood water in recent months.

Both Poole and Dorset expect to see the number of potholes escalate this financial year and said the problem is putting pressure on stretched council budgets.

Martin Hill, Dorset County Council’s routine highways maintenance manager, said they spent around £1.2million repairing 12,800 potholes in 2011/12 and the situation had got progressively worse ever since.

“The number of road defects reported so far in 2012/13 has substantially increased, partly due to the excessively wet weather during the past 12 months,” he said.

We asked readers on Facebook to tell us where the worst potholes were. Here are the hotspots.

“As flood water recedes, it gets under the surface of the carriageway and can cause a lot of problems. Our repair budget is struggling to keep pace with the number of road defects we are dealing with.

“Our aim is to fix the most serious category of pothole within 32 hours.

Less urgent types of pothole are identified for repair within 28 days. We closely monitor our actual repair performance against these timescales and we are repairing 98 per cent of defects on time.”

The Borough of Poole also expects to fill in more potholes this financial year than it did during 2011/12. Between April 1 to December 31, 1,004 potholes have been repaired, compared to 1,029 during the whole of 2011/12.

However, the amount of money it has to spend on carriageway patching has decreased from £606,000 to £324,000 due to a lack of government grants available this year.

A spokesperson for the AA warned that many councils’ efforts to improve the roads would only have a temporary impact.

“Because the councils are just filling in the holes rather than maintaining them road surface, all that happens is that bad weather just opens them up again,” he said.

“The Government has given a grant to local authorities to fill in potholes but unfortunately all we need is a severe winter and it just opens them up again.”

In Bournemouth, the council was only able to provide figures for potholes reported between January and October in 2011 and in 2012.

This shows the number of potholes being reported has reduced from 635 in 2011 to 498 in 2012.

The number of compensation claims for damage allegedly caus-ed by potholes has also decreased.

In 2010/11, 58 claims were made, of which 16 were paid. In 2011/12, 21 were made and three paid and in 2012/13, 16 were made and four paid.

Stuart Best, street service manager, said he believed this reduction was due to their Road Rescue programme, which has seen the council focus resources on filling in potholes and other road repairs for the past three years.

“Maintaining Bournemouth’s roads continues to be a priority for the council,” he said.

“Since 2009, through the coun-cil’s Road Rescue campaign we have invested around £4.8m in to repairing Bournemouth’s roads, including 6,420 pothole repairs, as well as carrying out a number of major resurfacing works.

“This level of investment has helped to maintain Bourne-mouth’s roads for longer and this, we believe, has helped to reduce the numbers of reports of potholes in the borough.”

ANTHONY and June O’Brien, who live in Upper Road, Parkstone, said they had been waiting for repairs to the road for years.

Bournemouth Echo:

Mr O’Brien, a former traffic officer, said: “I’ve been living here since April 2003, and my wife has been here a lot longer than that.

“Just before I first arrived, the council said they’d surface it, but it’s never happened. I understand it’s expensive to do, but it’s been years since anything’s been done.”

Mrs O’Brien said: “The council’s excuse was that they wouldn’t do it because of all the lorries travelling up and down to Wyvern Cargo and ANC.

“Since the lorries have gone, it hasn’t been so bad, but I think there will end up being a big accident along here.”

Marje Timbrell, 76, who also lives on Upper Road, said: “I have been here for 50 years – back then, we had to pay to get this road done, and it hasn’t been done since.

“It used to be a rough old road with gravel on it. It’s still dreadful now.”

Nick Hennessy, 61, lives near Longham, and said a series of deep potholes make driving difficult.
“It’s absolutely terrible,” he said.

“They have definitely got worse – I think it must be all this flooding and the frost. When your car hits one of them, it can affect the steering components, and it does get expensive.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Self-employed gardener Shaun Foulkes, above, 38, blamed a pothole on Fleets Lane for damaging the suspension on his van.

He lodged a claim for compensation with the Borough of Poole after having to pay more than £200 to repair his van.

But despite submitting the details in August, he has only just been told that his claim had been unsuccessful.

He said: “I wasn’t going fast when I hit it but it was a massive pothole and it broke the suspension on the van. I submitted a claim and kept chasing it and chasing it.

“Eventually I was told they were in the middle of repairing that part of the road at the time so they weren’t going to pay out on it.

“It is annoying because it cost me a lot of money but there is no way I can disprove they knew about the pothole and had it in line for repair.

“It would have been nice to have had a quicker response though and not to have taken so much time and effort.”

 

Comments (14)

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8:57am Tue 22 Jan 13

oversixty says...

Credit to Bournemouth Council who have dealt with potholes I have reported very quickly.I reported more yesterday !
Credit to Bournemouth Council who have dealt with potholes I have reported very quickly.I reported more yesterday ! oversixty
  • Score: 0

9:14am Tue 22 Jan 13

speedy231278 says...

"Eventually I was told they were in the middle of repairing that part of the road at the time so they weren’t going to pay out on it."

I thought that if a pothole had been reported and wasn't fixed between the time of being reported and the time someone's vehicle was damaged, then the council were liable? Isn't it only unreported ones that they are not liable for?
"Eventually I was told they were in the middle of repairing that part of the road at the time so they weren’t going to pay out on it." I thought that if a pothole had been reported and wasn't fixed between the time of being reported and the time someone's vehicle was damaged, then the council were liable? Isn't it only unreported ones that they are not liable for? speedy231278
  • Score: 0

9:14am Tue 22 Jan 13

Esqui says...

They may be quick at dealing with them, but a big part of the problem is the cheap and ineffective way in which they are 'fixed'. I know of several that were filled in with gravel and a small patch of thin tarmac on top, which broke weeks later.
They may be quick at dealing with them, but a big part of the problem is the cheap and ineffective way in which they are 'fixed'. I know of several that were filled in with gravel and a small patch of thin tarmac on top, which broke weeks later. Esqui
  • Score: 0

9:50am Tue 22 Jan 13

P Barker says...

I've had a very poor response to the council online pothole reporting. You input the details, location & mark on a map. It gives a reference number to say they are detailing with it. Often its WEEKS till anything happens, and then its just a white square around it. The hole in the service road near Castle Lane & the Cooper Dean pub, has been repaired numerous times. Yet it just keeps reopening. If the holes was filled properly half of the problem would be solved.
I've had a very poor response to the council online pothole reporting. You input the details, location & mark on a map. It gives a reference number to say they are detailing with it. Often its WEEKS till anything happens, and then its just a white square around it. The hole in the service road near Castle Lane & the Cooper Dean pub, has been repaired numerous times. Yet it just keeps reopening. If the holes was filled properly half of the problem would be solved. P Barker
  • Score: 0

9:53am Tue 22 Jan 13

speedy231278 says...

What they seem to be unable to realise is that a pothole usually means the road is shot and starting to fall to bits. If you fill up the hole, you're not fixing the problem. The problem is that the road needs resurfacing. The area around the filled hole will simply start breaking up instead.
What they seem to be unable to realise is that a pothole usually means the road is shot and starting to fall to bits. If you fill up the hole, you're not fixing the problem. The problem is that the road needs resurfacing. The area around the filled hole will simply start breaking up instead. speedy231278
  • Score: 0

10:22am Tue 22 Jan 13

Old Colonial says...

Shoddy so called repairs and original poor workmanship (done on the cheap) is the problem.
Shoddy so called repairs and original poor workmanship (done on the cheap) is the problem. Old Colonial
  • Score: 0

10:51am Tue 22 Jan 13

ben111 says...

an Audi van not Ldv van , who do they employ at the echo these days , putting 2 and 2 together seems a touch hard these days ?
an Audi van not Ldv van , who do they employ at the echo these days , putting 2 and 2 together seems a touch hard these days ? ben111
  • Score: 0

11:09am Tue 22 Jan 13

dobrojoe says...

When will Dorset Council get it into their heads that doing a bodge-up fix of a pothole is false economy? Most of the ones that were fixed round where I live have now opened up again and need fixed again! Is there no accountability for this madness?
When will Dorset Council get it into their heads that doing a bodge-up fix of a pothole is false economy? Most of the ones that were fixed round where I live have now opened up again and need fixed again! Is there no accountability for this madness? dobrojoe
  • Score: 0

11:30am Tue 22 Jan 13

Hammy1 says...

We have just had a claim turned down when we went down a big pot hole in Blandford which we did not see until too late we even took photos of the hole which was two foot by two foot and about a foot deep right on a bend so you had no chance of seeing it and the alloy wheel of the car which had cracked badly. We even found out later that eight other people had the same damage. The Highways Agency's Insurance departments reason for not paying out 'we were the first to report it and the law states they can not be responsible for something they knew nothing about' we know for a fact that it had already been reported but can not prove it. It was filled that afternoon which does make us think it had already been reported but by the following week the hole was back. I telephoned the lady that dealt with our claim and told her the whole road was diabolical and that if I damaged my car again I would sue it worked the whole road was being done the next day. Sometimes it is worth being a nuisance to get things done even if it did cost me to repair the damage to my car.
We have just had a claim turned down when we went down a big pot hole in Blandford which we did not see until too late we even took photos of the hole which was two foot by two foot and about a foot deep right on a bend so you had no chance of seeing it and the alloy wheel of the car which had cracked badly. We even found out later that eight other people had the same damage. The Highways Agency's Insurance departments reason for not paying out 'we were the first to report it and the law states they can not be responsible for something they knew nothing about' we know for a fact that it had already been reported but can not prove it. It was filled that afternoon which does make us think it had already been reported but by the following week the hole was back. I telephoned the lady that dealt with our claim and told her the whole road was diabolical and that if I damaged my car again I would sue it worked the whole road was being done the next day. Sometimes it is worth being a nuisance to get things done even if it did cost me to repair the damage to my car. Hammy1
  • Score: 0

11:35am Tue 22 Jan 13

speedy231278 says...

I often wonder about the whole "if they didn't know, you can't claim" policy. Surely the roads should be inspected on a regular basis?
I often wonder about the whole "if they didn't know, you can't claim" policy. Surely the roads should be inspected on a regular basis? speedy231278
  • Score: 0

1:06pm Tue 22 Jan 13

spooki says...

Any excuse to defend a bad road repair system. What next? Aliens parked their UFO in the road and left dents where they landed.
Any excuse to defend a bad road repair system. What next? Aliens parked their UFO in the road and left dents where they landed. spooki
  • Score: 0

1:22pm Tue 22 Jan 13

mpdor says...

"Road rescue programme" who comes up with these names? the problems are several, firstly council needs to start charging utility companies a lot more money for the dreadful work they do on filling in utility holes, i refer to virgin media bt etc the dreadful state they leave rds and pavements in is outrageous, secondly you cannot just keep pouring on tarmac on top of holes, yes it looks ok on the day but take a look a week later, walk down st johns rd in boscombe the main drag to the beach and its a disgrace, the rd is full of holes, the pavements are terrible full of holes and the rd appears inplaces to be sinking, drains are blocked water pouring up during rain, reported? yes. action no, i do not drive but even i have never seen such a dreadful state of rds and pavements cuts to budgets cannot amke the situation any better
"Road rescue programme" who comes up with these names? the problems are several, firstly council needs to start charging utility companies a lot more money for the dreadful work they do on filling in utility holes, i refer to virgin media bt etc the dreadful state they leave rds and pavements in is outrageous, secondly you cannot just keep pouring on tarmac on top of holes, yes it looks ok on the day but take a look a week later, walk down st johns rd in boscombe the main drag to the beach and its a disgrace, the rd is full of holes, the pavements are terrible full of holes and the rd appears inplaces to be sinking, drains are blocked water pouring up during rain, reported? yes. action no, i do not drive but even i have never seen such a dreadful state of rds and pavements cuts to budgets cannot amke the situation any better mpdor
  • Score: 0

5:04pm Tue 22 Jan 13

loftusrod says...

Surely someone at the council has to 'sign off' or approve the repairs when they are done. Anyone can see, per the 'false economy' comment above, that the repairs are so shoddy they need doing again soon.
I cycle most of the time, cycling near the kerb is even worse as a lot of the pot holes drivers wouldn't be near anyway.

I notice the road building has started again as we get towards April, new cycle lanes being put in opposite the Bear Cross pub - they need to repair what we already have before starting new ones.
Surely someone at the council has to 'sign off' or approve the repairs when they are done. Anyone can see, per the 'false economy' comment above, that the repairs are so shoddy they need doing again soon. I cycle most of the time, cycling near the kerb is even worse as a lot of the pot holes drivers wouldn't be near anyway. I notice the road building has started again as we get towards April, new cycle lanes being put in opposite the Bear Cross pub - they need to repair what we already have before starting new ones. loftusrod
  • Score: 0

5:34pm Tue 22 Jan 13

BarrHumbug says...

So last year it was the fault of the freezing dry weather and this year it's the mild wet weather!
You don't have to be a genius to know the majority of the pot holes this year are last years repairs/botched efforts.
So last year it was the fault of the freezing dry weather and this year it's the mild wet weather! You don't have to be a genius to know the majority of the pot holes this year are last years repairs/botched efforts. BarrHumbug
  • Score: 0

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