SPECIAL REPORT: Combined length of unsafe roads in Northamptonshire would stretch from here to Liverpool

Nearly 155 miles in of pothole-riddled roads in Northamptonshire are in urgent need of repair,  according to new research.

Monday, 19th March 2018, 5:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th March 2018, 7:05 am
Martin Morrell, AKA, Mr Pothole, served the county council with a legal notice to fix the Halse to Greatworth road and the Welsh Lane route from Crowfield to the A43 roundabout.

The figures compiled by the BBC Shared Data Unit come as insurance claims over potholes have risen by 34 per cent over the past two years.

Analysis of Government figures has found that just 9.3 miles of the county’s A -roads, or three per cent, are in a poor condition.

But of the smaller B and C roads - 145 miles of minor highways are deemed to be in a state of disrepair.

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Potholes in Military Road, Northampton.

The figures show the percentage of roads in need of repair has actually improved marginally over the past eight years.

In 2009/10 four per cent of A-roads were in a poor condition and seven per cent of B and C roads were badly damaged, compared to three and six per cent now

But figures released by the garage chain Kwik Fit today has found road users claimed £915 million for pothole damage to their cars in 2016/17, a 34 per cent increase on the figure of £684 million two years ago.

Experts also claim to be seeing a spike in pothole complaints after the recent harsh winter.

Potholes in Military Road, Northampton.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Before the cold snap the condition of many local roads was on a knife edge with many councils struggling to fix our roads properly. But now, as a result of the ‘Beast from the East’ some local roads will have deteriorated even further, possibly to the point that they represent a serious risk to the safety of users.

“Local roads across Britain are suffering from years of underinvestment, which is why the RAC believes the Government, as a matter of urgency, needs to look at the issue from a long-term point of view. This means identifying a funding strategy to address both prevention and cure, and give local authorities certainty of funding so they are able to plan ahead."

Mike King, Head of Claims Service at UK-wide insurance company Admiral, said: “We do see an increase in the number of car insurance claims relating to poor road conditions after a period of exceptionally cold weather when the highways often become damaged but this drops off again during the summer months.”

The Government says it is providing local authorities with £296 million through the “pothole action fund” to fix just under 6 million potholes.

This includes an additional £46 million, as announced in December 2017, to help them repair bumpy stretches that may have formed over the winter.

Northamptonshire has received £3.2 million of that total so far.

But, the authority says that in order to bring all of the county’s roads up to a “good standard” it would have to spend at least £100m.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “This has been one of the most severe winters in recent years with three major snow events and about 100 gritting runs carried out so far.

“Like elsewhere in the country this has had a heavy impact on our roads.

“As the responsible highways authority for Northamptonshire we are continuing to work to our policy, which determines the safety intervention levels.

“If a defect meets our intervention criteria then we are still undertaking repairs within timescales set out in our policy.

“However to bring the roads up to what would be a good standard would cost at least £100m.”

A fortnight ago we launched a campaign to highlight the roads with the worst damage across our county

Send us a photo or video of a pothole that is causing you greatest concern.

You can do that by e-mail, by post, or on our social media pages. At the same time include a few details of where it is. Please copy this information to the council. Make sure that when you are taking a photo you do so safely and do not put yourself at risk from traffic.

Our email address is [email protected] and our Facebook page can be viewed here