Potholes likely to appear at ‘unprecedented rate’ in coming months, RAC warns.
The RAC issued the warning after recording a 24% rise in the number of pothole-related breakdowns between October and December compared with the same period in 2015.
It is the first annual increase for the last quarter of a year since 2013.
The RAC Pothole Index claims “urgent remedial repairs” are needed to reduce the risk of further damage to vehicles or injuries to motorcyclists and cyclists.
Regular reports among the vehicle complains caused by substandard quality roads are distorted wheels, broken suspension springs and damaged shock absorbers.
David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, commentated that the numbers are particularly worrying in light of the fact the period saw its lowest rainfall for over 10 years. The wet weather is usually catalyst for the emergence of potholes.
He added: “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.
“It is insufficient investment in preventative maintenance, such as resurfacing, which is ultimately to blame.”
A survey of almost 18,000 motorists commissioned by the AA to mark National Pothole Day on Monday found that a fifth (20%) would volunteer to fill a pothole themselves rather than wait for a local authority.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “The state of local roads has got so bad that we now have a sea of volunteers to tackle an ocean of potholes. If we are ever going to get a handle on the situation, the Government must give authorities the tools they need to fill potholes. Otherwise councils will simply pass the shovels on to ratepayers.”
The Local Government Association recently warned that 2017 could be a “tipping point” for tackling potholes as it said the bill for repairing roads in England and Wales could reach £14 billion within two years.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has committed £6 billion for English councils to improve local roads over the current Parliament, in addition to a £50 million-a-year fund specifically for tackling potholes.
The DfT claimed the system, which is being trialled by councils in York and Thurrock, Essex, could “revolutionise the way potholes are identified and managed.”
Alan Mackenzie, chairman of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, said: “Long-term underfunding means that the local road network is deteriorating at a faster rate than it can be repaired.”