– Pothole near Oxford – you can see this bit of road has been patched several times. Patched roads soon break down.
The bad weather this winter and last winter has led to a sharp rise in the number of potholes on British roads. It is estimated councils are filling a record 1.4 million holes – one every 33 seconds.
But, this problems is being compounded by spending cuts which make it difficult for councils to deal with the problem. Another issues is that filling up odd potholes tends to be a very short term solution. Potholes which are filled in can easily reappear within one year. Often what is needed is for the road to be be completely resurfaced. A resurfaced road can then last for up to 10 years. (If it is not dug up by utility companies, the road will be much less prone to potholes)
It is frustrating when we decide there are ‘no money for potholes’ because the cost of potholes has to be faced by
- Motorists with bigger bills for repairs
- Councils going for the cheapest option of filling in holes which is actually a poor long term investment.
- Increased risk of accident for road users like cyclists.
- Reduced cost of councils being sued for potholes in roads.
Filling in potholes is a good example of a good with positive externalities. If councils have the money to repair roads properly, the economy will benefit from lower costs. It more than pays for itself.
There is the money to fill in potholes. We are just choosing to face much higher costs from leaving badly damaged roads.
Motorists, of course, are very unhappy, but as a cyclist, it is even worse. Some potholes require you to make a sharp detour to avoid going over handlebars.