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An Ongoing Struggle With The Pothole

A problem that just won’t seem to go away for drivers across the whole of the UK are potholes – especially if the results of a new report by the RAC is anything to go on. According to their figures, between January and March 2017, the RAC dealt with over 6,500 breakdowns, which were likely attributable to poor road surfaces. The last time that so many pothole-related breakdowns were recorded in a three-month period was in the first quarter of 2015 (almost 6,900 breakdowns were recorded then). However, in the early months of 2015, the country was subjected to more days of frost and rainfall when compared to the first three months of 2017, when the nation experienced mild and moderately dry conditions.

David Bizley, a chief engineer at the RAC, commented: “Our figures sadly show a surprising and unwelcome first quarter rise in the number of breakdowns where the poor quality of the road surface was a major factor. We had expected a figure no worse than that recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (4,026) and it is very concerning that the roads, strangely, appear to have deteriorated in a mild, comparatively dry winter.”

Maybe it’s time to consider just how bad are the UK’s roads are as a result of potholes? VW service provider Inchcape Volkswagen, which offers thorough aftersales services, MOTs and repairs to solve issues such as wheel misalignment and suspension damage, explores…

Pothole hotspots

So where are the most problematic locations known for potholes? The following table is the top ten places of a league table of highway authorities that FillThatHole.org.uk has compiled. It is based on the number of road hazards which were reported to them:

Position

Authority

Region

Total reports

Open reports

Fixed reports

Percentage fixed

1

Surrey

South East England

7,657

6,473

1,149

15%

2

Hampshire

South East England

4,133

3,241

849

21%

3

Essex

South East England

3,804

2,912

878

23%

4

Hertfordshire

South East England

3,557

3,004

530

15%

5

Kent

South East England

3,478

3,105

364

10%

6

Lancashire

North West England

3,301

2,484

792

24%

7

Oxfordshire

South East England

3,245

2,225

985

31%

8

Glasgow

Scotland

3,059

2,444

601

20%

9

Cheshire East

North West England

2,980

2,110

787

27%

10

West Sussex

South East England

2,845

2,034

783

28%

This is how the top ten places of FillThatHole.org.uk’s league table looks when ranked on open reports though:

Position

Authority

Region

Open reports

Total reports

Fixed reports

Percentage fixed

1

Surrey

South East England

6,473

7,657

1,149

15%

2

Hampshire

South East England

3,241

4,133

849

21%

3

Kent

South East England

3,105

3,479

364

10%

4

Hertfordshire

South East England

3,004

3,557

530

15%

5

Essex

South East England

2,912

3,804

878

23%

6

Lancashire

North West England

2,484

3,301

792

24%

7

Glasgow

Scotland

2,444

3,059

601

20%

8

Buckinghamshire

South East England

2,399

2,754

343

13%

9

Oxfordshire

South East England

2,225

3,245

985

31%

10

Devon

South West England

2,114

2,519

385

15%

Frequency of potholes being filled in

The average number of potholes filled in 2016/17 per local authority across England was 13,468, according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey 2017.

The top ten authorities ranked on fixed reports in FillThatHole.org.uk’s league table is as follows:

Position

Authority

Region

Fixed reports

Total reports

Open reports

Percentage fixed

1

York

Yorkshire & Humber

1,187

1,341

151

89%

2

Surrey

South East England

1,149

7,657

6,473

15%

3

Bristol

South West England

1,094

1,475

199

85%

4

Oxfordshire

South East England

985

3,245

2,225

31%

5

Cheshire West & Chester

North West England

913

1,252

30

97%

6

Essex

South East England

878

3,804

2,912

23%

7

Northumberland

North East England

869

1,123

5

99%

8

Hampshire

South East England

849

4,133

3,241

21%

9

Islington

London

825

985

0

100%

10

Lancashire

North West England

792

3,301

2,484

24%

Number of drivers reporting pothole damage in the past 12 months (ranked by region):

Region

Number of drivers

South East England

941k

London

733k

South West England

721k

Yorkshire & Humber

720k

North West England

687k

West Midlands

609k

Scotland

521k

Eastern England

457k

East Midlands

365k

North East England

343k

Wales

201k

 Average cost to repair pothole damage (ranked by region):

Region

Average cost

Eastern England

£163.68

South East England

£124.93

London

£124.65

Yorkshire & Humber

£120.00

South West England

£119.01

Scotland

£109.02

West Midlands

£87.59

North West England

£87.01

East Midlands

£86.33

North East England

£72.66

Wales

£61.83

 

Structural road condition percentage split in England

  • Percentage of roads across England in poor condition (i.e. they have less than five years’ residual life remaining) — 17 per cent.

  • Percentage of roads across England in adequate condition (i.e. they have between five and 15 years’ residual life remaining) — 30 per cent.

  • Percentage of roads across England in good condition (i.e. they have 15 years or more residual life remaining) — 53 per cent.

Sources:

https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/pothole-related-breakdowns-up-despite-mild-weather/

*RAC data reported on at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/15/pothole-damage-cars-soars-two-thirds-despite-dry-mild-winter/

http://www.asphaltuk.org/wp-content/uploads/ALARM-2017.pdf

https://www.fillthathole.org.uk/league-table?sort=desc&order=Total+Reports