Thursday, 18 March 2010

Blitz On Potholes

As the financial year winds towards it's close money has apparently been found in council budgets to spend on fixing this winter's spate of potholes.

In West Berkshire £200,000 has been found "to bring roads... back up to acceptable standard", according to the upbeat executive member for transport, Cllr Dave Betts.

In Bracknell £100,000 will be spent replacing temporary 'plugs' with lasting repairs.

And in Reading a blitz on the problem has been undertaken in preparation for the heavy footfall of this weekend's half-marathon.

Race director Chris Summer explained that safety concerns for runners had caused the burst of activity, despite some suggestions by cynical commenters that the matter is being given prioritisation to enhance the image of the town rather than provide for the daily routine of residents.



Meanwhile Wokingham's Cllr Prue Bray worries that potholes are an endless problem.

She notes that although many have been filled in recently the roads are in such a state that new ones keep cropping up and asks if anyone is keeping count.

So it's worth looking at potholes.co.uk which has a geo-list of pothole locations and is tracking how quickly they are repaired, while the Fill That Hole reporting site has compiled a league table of local authorities according to their responses to reported problems.

Berkshire's councils rank as follows (out of 212 councils nationwide):

#15 Bracknell Forest - 57% fixed
#21 Reading - 54% fixed
#30 Windsor & Maidenhead - 48% fixed
#41 Wokingham - 43% fixed
#42 Slough - 41% fixed
#78 West Berkshire - 33% fixed


Elsewhere Patrick Barkham asks 'Why are our roads full of potholes?'

To which Rachel Lefort answers: the estimated 2m potholes arising every year are a result of what the Local Government Association claims is an £8bn shortfall in the required transport budget and that this leads to an inevitable postcode lottery in the volume and speed of repairs.

Yet government departments appear locked in an divisive battle to paper over the cracks by trying to decide when a hole becomes a pothole according to the size of the damaged road surface.

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Update: Labour's Cllr Tony Page has expressed the fear that repairing all the potholes within Reading borough boundaries will cost 'many millions of pounds' to do the work satifactorily, yet Anneliese Dodds proudly boasts of the £106,600 being spent on the roadworks.

Reading spokesperson Sarah Bishton said the council works teams repaired 165 potholes every day while also undertaking a significant programme of resurfacing work, however commentators reacted with extreme scepticism to this figure leaving the impression that she had confused daily with weekly figures.

Claire Smith reports RBWM has mended 4,500 potholes since Christmas after the worst winter in 30 years.

LibDems in West Berkshire have seized upon the claims made by the ruling Conservatives, arguing that roads are in an 'appalling' state.

Cllr Keith Woodhams commented, "Standards are nowhere near acceptable." He said, "Many roads in the district... have been left in an appalling state for months," adding that the low quality of repairs meant many potholes reappeared soon after they were supposedly fixed.

Scaryduck notes how anger at potholes is literally exploding out of this world!

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Background: Potholes Pile Up; Potholes Get Political, Beneath The Surface; Filling A Gap

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