Worst Roads for Potholes
Happy pothole day, everyone! Well, perhaps not happy pothole day. After all, potholes have the tendency to make even the most laid-back drivers as mad as a box of frogs. One minute you're cruising along, listening to the radio without a care in the world, and all of a sudden, *THUD*! As you and your vehicle recover from jolting forwards (or sideways), the rush of thoughts racing through your mind range from, "Are the alloys damaged?", "Have I punctured the tyres?", "What about the suspension?". Yes, potholes are horrible. Not only can they damage your car, but lately there seems to be more and more of them lying in wait to prey on our pride and joy.
They're also very dangerous. Did you know that between 2007 and 2016, 22 cyclists were killed and 368 were seriously injured due to crumbling roads? Well, apparently the victim toll just keeps on rising, and it goes to show that it isn't just motor vehicle drivers that are paying the price for Britain's pothole pandemoniums.
Here at Hopewiser, we love everything about addresses and data, therefore, we were prompted to take a closer look at the pothole situation in the UK and see where the worst locations for potholes are. An investigation conducted by the Sunday Mirror aided our mission, and revealed the top 10 worst roads in Britain for pothole-related complaints.
Number one on the Sunday Mirror's list, was the Mellor Brook Bypass in Balderstone, Lancashire with a staggering 545 complaints in just one year. The second worst offender was Seven Hills Road in Elmbridge, Surrey, with 216 complaints reported. The study tells us that hundreds of aggrieved drivers signed a petition demanding that the county council resurface the road. In April 2018, Get Surrey reported that Seven Hills Road was due to close for 5 days whilst repair works on the surface's potholes took place, after the county was granted £2 million to rectify the damage from the prolonged freezing weather left over from the previous winter.
Other roads with complaints in the 200s region, were the A345 in Wiltshire with 208 complaints, and Selsfield Road in West Hoathly, West Sussex following closely behind with 200 complaints. In 5th place on the most affected roads in England was the Main Road in Moulton, Cheshire with 185 complaints about potholes. In August last year, the Northwich Guardian reported that pothole-related complaints in West Cheshire had more than doubled in the year to April, with more than 12,800 complaints about roads managed by Cheshire West and Chester Council being received in 2017/18. Additionally, the number of claims made and payouts due to vehicle damage caused by potholes rose from 59 in 2016/17 to an astonishing 143 in 2017/18. The most problematic road in the area was indeed Main Road, Moulton.
Councillor Helen Weltman, Conservative CWAC ward member for Davenham and Moulton, expresses that the pothole situation is a result of lack of investment in the local infrastructure. She stated:
“It’s a lack of proactive thinking and planning ahead. You need a rolling programme of which roads are breaking down – it’s a false economy that we are paying people out for damage."
Similar to the aforementioned incidents in Surrey, the poor weather throughout the winter of 2017/18 led to an increase in road defects, and CWAC was awarded £445,141 by the Department for Transport's Pothole Action Fund last February. Whilst it is good to see that councils are receiving funds to help repair Britain's estimated 2 million potholes, it's important to note that it isn't just drivers and cyclists who are affected by potholes. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Development Manager, Robert Downes, explains that road networks are vital trade routes to local economies, whereby small businesses need free flowing, well-maintained roads in order to compete and grow. This is particularly important in rural areas where there is an added reliance on motor vehicles. Mr Downes added:
“Poorly maintained infrastructure hampers growth and presents a low rent image which can be a turn off for investors. So while it’s easy to dismiss potholes as an irrelevance, or a ‘nice to have’, they are actually rather important."
Another northern pothole haven is the A595 in Cumbria, which comes in at number 6 with 171 complaints. In April 2018, News and Star warned motorists that safety signs were being placed along some of Cumbria's worst road surfaces, adding that the county's highways boss expressed the area's potholes would get worse before they get better. Do any of our readers regularly travel via Cumbria's major road networks? If so, has the situation improved? We'd be delighted to find out.
As we navigate down towards the Midlands, 7th on the top 10 list is Attercliffe Road in Sheffield with 169 complaints, and the A38 Kingsbury Road in Birmingham ranks 8th, also with 169 complaints. In 9th place, and only by 1 complaint, is Richmond Avenue in Telford, Shropshire, with 168 complaints reported. Steve Davenport, Shropshire Council's cabinet member for highways and transport told the Shropshire Star that he's never known the roads in the area to be so bad. The article also expressed that the council have enlisted the help of highways contractor, Kier, in order to repair the damage on the county's roads.
Finally, in 10th place on the top 10 list of the worst areas for potholes in the UK is the road which runs from West Serstone to Down St. Mary in Devon, which received 162 complaints. It would appear, however, that the pothole situation in this area is gradually improving, as Devon Live reported last year that the county's "pothole king" has repaired his 200th pothole. Reg Winsor has repaired at least one pothole every week since 2015, with each one meeting all current standards. There is hope after all!
This blog comes to you as part of a series that analyses freely available data. If you have experienced problems with potholes, whether that be in general or in an area that we have not mentioned, please feel free to get in touch and share your views via our social media channels.