Problematic potholes in Devon increased by 10,000 last year
The number of potholes reported in Devon has halved, but the number of repairs increased by more than 9,000 last year.
Anita Merritt www.devonlive.com
In 2020, Devon County had 28,600 potholes reported, compared with 50,309 the previous year.
However, it repaired 59,553, which includes potholes identified through assessment following public reports and potholes found on routine safety inspections and comprises safety, non-safety and pothole patches.
The number in 2019 was 50,309. The previous year 72,338 repairs were carried out.
A pothole which previously caused trouble in Bampton Street (Image: Lewis Clarke)
Last year, 872 compensation claims for damage caused by potholes. The council paid out £113,320 due to personal injury and damage to vehicle claims, but not all the payments related to incidents which occurred in 2020.
Only around a quarter of potholes reported to the council last year were repaired. Each pothole has to meet its required intervention criteria. In 2020, there were 11,343 assessed as having safety defects which is around 39 per cent. The number in 2019 was 9,765.
Targets are set when potholes must be repaired by after they have been assessed. In 2020, 53,640 – 90 per cent – met the target time. The number for the previous year was 43,099.
The average number of calendar days to repair potholes instructed in 2020 was around a week.
The longest wait for a repair was 170 days which DCC says was due to an ‘integration error’ between its reporting system and its contractors system.
Once the error was discovered it was repaired in four days.
It is currently estimated that there are some 42,675 miles of UK roads classed as being in poor structural condition, costing an estimated £11.14 billion to bring them up to a level which they could be maintained cost effectively going forward, according to Asphalt Industry Alliance.
Potholes are continuing to cause problems across Devon’s roads this year and not all residents are happy with how promptly they are dealt with.
DCC declined to make a comment.
Potholes can be reported to the council via its website. It will repair potholes that are deeper than 40mm, wider than 300mm and have a vertical edge.
A new report from the UK’s largest road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart, discovered that three in four motorists (75 per cent) now perceive potholes to be a bigger issue for road users than they were three years ago, and more of an issue than driver distraction and traffic congestion.
Its annual Safety Culture Report, which surveyed more than 2,000 motorists, also discovered that around nine in ten (89 per cent) drivers have been affected by potholes over the last year.
Meanwhile, just over one in three (31 per cent) drivers had changed their route to avoid a pothole with more than half (54 per cent) having had to steer away or brake hard to avoid impact and damage.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “The pothole situation on UK roads has now become much more than just irritating; it’s a significant threat to personal safety.
“We simply can’t have vehicles swerving into oncoming traffic or slamming on their brakes without warning to avoid them. Deteriorating roads also put pedestrians and cyclists at greater risk.
“It is clearly a sign of the times when motorists perceive potholes to be a bigger growing concern to them than drink driving and texting.
“While the statistics show that the devastating impacts of using a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or using a mobile phone when driving still remain, it does highlight that it is time for government to take potholes seriously and fix the UK’s road network.”