Happy National Pothole Day everyone!
OK, it’s not quite as big as Christmas yet, but give it a few years and we’ll all be buying Pothole Day cards!
An unhappy National Pothole Day
This National Pothole Day comes after a busy two weeks in the world of potholes. The most recent news came from The RAC, who issued a warning that UK roads are likely to see potholes appearing at an ‘unprecedented rate’ over the coming months.
The warning comes after the breakdown organisation recorded a 24% rise in the number of pothole-based breakdowns between October and December 2016, compared to the same period in 2015.
This increase comes despite rainfall being at its lowest between October and December 2016 in over a decade. Seeing that rainfall is a major cause of potholes, this is “particularly worrying” according to RAC Chief Engineer David Bizley.
He said: “If the first three months of 2017 prove to be both wet and cold, potholes are likely to appear at an unprecedented rate, which would inevitably stretch local authority repair resources to their limit.”
2017 tipping point for UK roads
Recently, the Local Government Association called 2017 a “tipping point” for tackling potholes. This came after research suggested the cost to repair pothole-ridden roads in England and Wales could reach £14 billion in just two years.
This high cost is because the road network is “deteriorating at a faster rate than it can be repaired” according to Alan Mackenzie, Chairman of the Asphalt Industry Alliance.
What’s being done to tackle potholes?
In short, clever cameras and a lot more money.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has committed £6 billion to help councils improve roads in England, alongside a £50 million find each year just to tackle pesky potholes.
As well as looking to repair current damage, more is being done to prevent potholes from coming in the first place. The DfT also announced plans to add HD cameras to the bottom of bin lorries in York and Thurrock. These clever cameras will spot road surface problems that can be repaired before they become potholes.
So, is it a happy National Pothole Day? Not exactly. But hopefully when you’re buying your Pothole Day card next year – which we all obviously will – the journey to the shop will be a bit less bumpy.