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Garages report more damage as drivers left to count cost of potholes

Telford | News | Published:

Garages say they are seeing more repairs for cars being damaged by driving through potholes.

Mechanics say "careful drivers" are facing bills for repairs due to damage caused by poor road surfaces.

It comes as figures obtained by the Shropshire Star reveal councils in the county are being forced to pay out thousands in compensation for injury and damage caused by potholes.

Ryan Jones, from AW Motor Service in Ketley, said in the four years he has been working in the garage he has seen more and more people seeking work for damage caused by driving through potholes.

He said: "There's definitely been an increase.

"In the last two weeks we've had a guy in needing new alloy wheels because he damaged them in a pothole close to the Shawbirch Island. He had cracked the alloy.

  • Almost 60,000 Ford Focuses would fit inside the UK’s potholes.
  • For a hole in the road to be a considered a pothole it has to be at least 40mm in depth.
  • The perfect frequency to resurface a road is between 10 and 20 years.
  • To repair a UK pothole the average cost is £58.
  • The South West is said to have the most potholes and London the least.
  • Winters are bad for potholes. Water seeps into cracks and freeze, leading them to expand and fracture the road.

"A lot of damage is being done to alloys, it doesn't help that cars these days have big alloy wheels so it isn't just the tyres that are being damaged.

"But it isn't just the wheels and alloys, that also has a knock-on effect on the rest of the car."

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Mr Jones said he was also seeing damage being caused to people who are otherwise careful drivers, who would not normally experience damage to their car because of their driving. He said: "We are also seeing an increase of 'careful' drivers who are experiencing damage."

More than £100,000 has been paid out in compensation by councils in Shropshire over the past five years to people injured as a result of driving over potholes.

Telford & Wrekin Council forked out nearly £80,000 to seven people injured on borough roads from 2011 up to March this year. And Shropshire Council handed over more than £20,000 to six claimants.

Telford & Wrekin Council says it aims to repair potholes in one working day. Russell Griffin, a spokesman for the council, said: "We will inspect all defects that are reported and if they are unsafe we will aim to repair them within one working day.

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"Most repairs will be permanent but if we plan to carry out maintenance later in the year or if the road is due to be inspected the repair will be temporary."

In April of this year it was announced £1 million will be handed over to Shropshire Council in a bid to blitz potholes.

The cash will come from the Government's £250 million Pothole Action Fund. Shropshire Council will receive £1.036 million of the initial £50 million pot, allowing it to fill more than 19,500 potholes.

But Telford & Wrekin Council has been given a much smaller sum – £176,000 – to deal with problems on roads in its area.

The money will help repair 3,300 holes, although the authority has far fewer roads than its neighbour and each council's figure has been calculated based on the size of its road network.

Shropshire's is the second-biggest allocation in the region, marginally behind Staffordshire, and is designed to tackle problems across the county's 5,150 kilometres (3,200 miles) of roads. Telford manages 626 miles of highways.

It was revealed that last month that Welsh authorities spent more than £30 million on compensation in five years following accidents caused by potholes.

The RAC has previously urged Governments to commit to repairing potholes, saying it will save money in the long-term.

Ed Evans, from the RAC, said: "Instead of just doing panic patch repairs, councils need a programme of replacing our roads to a high standard and keeping it to a high standard.

"Sorting it out at the beginning is the answer. If you let a pothole go until the end of the year, you'll get one big claim after an accident and still have to repair it, and the cost is much much higher than if you repair it when the problems first appear."

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