Roddy Graham's Blog: 14 May 2009 - Hole load of trouble
14 May 2009
Roddy Graham is chairman of the ICFM and commercial director of Leasedrive Velo
Hot on the heels of the news that potholes have increased by a third in the past year, comes news that we might not see them before we crash down them with increased regularity.
Autoglass is warning fleets to expect more windscreen damage this year as the vibration resulting from the jolt can lead to windscreen chips developing into cracks. Sounds a bit like what's happening to local councils and Government. Both seem on the point of imploding fast.
Earlier in the year, Warranty Direct had advised a 13% increase in pothole-related suspension and axle damage. Then at the end of April came news from the Asphalt Industry Alliance that the average road now has a black hole every 120 yards!
English councils filled an average 5252 holes each last year, well over the 4,000 John Lennon sang about that were suffered by Blackburn motorists in 'A day in the life' back in '67. On top of that, there were an average 13,212 utility trenches dug in each authority, many leading to irregular road surfaces and further potholes.
Due to an £8.5bn shortfall in funding, it will apparently take nearly 13 years to get all the current holes filled up! That's assuming not a single one appears in the meantime! The Welsh will wait a further 2.6 years to realise the same dream.
Interestingly, it costs almost the same to repair a windscreen chip as it does a pothole, the average repair bills being respectively £63 and £65!
According to the AIA, it would cost each local authority £47m to get rid of all the black holes in their 'patch'. I know that some councils pay more in claims resulting from pothole-related damage and injuries than they do in filling the bloody things up.
Government creams a massive £46bn from road tax and yet only invests 20% of that sum back into road network development and maintenance. The remaining 80% disappears into another black hole!
Before we rapidly descend into becoming a third world economy, based on road surface standards, Government should kick-start our economy as Obama is doing in the States by investing in our road network and creating more jobs as a result.
The state of our roads is truly scandalous, the worst in Western Europe. The development and maintenance of a national road network is an essential part of the famous integrated transport policy we are still waiting from this government. Like the pothole repairs, we are destined to wait a long time too for such a policy.