Dec 062010
 

potholes stopMotorists are being warned to brace themselves for the “worst ever pothole season”, say experts.

Road maintenance campaign website, Potholes.co.uk, has already seen a 100% increase in web traffic during last week’s nationwide blanketing of snow, with twice as many visitors as the same week in 2009.

Mechanical insurance provider, Warranty Direct, which runs Potholes.co.uk, expects to see a sharp increase in claims for axle and suspension related damage in the coming weeks.

Last year, it estimated that British motorists paid out £320m in repairs to everything from wheels and tyres to suspension failure. “That figure could pail into insignificance,” warns Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

Potholes are caused by water or snow filling existing cracks in road surfaces and freezing. The expansion this causes breaks open the road, which is revealed when the ice melts. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles cause maximum damage.

McClure Fisher added: “The roads are going to deteriorate incredibly quickly over the coming months. Given the severity and earlier than normal arrival of harsh wintry conditions, everything is pointing towards a miserable period for motorists.”

Spending cuts will also impact the issue. “Local councils and Central Government have a duty of care to maintain the roads of Britain. Yet, with the extended period of cold weather and councils trimming budgets across the country, it’s hard to see how they will be able to tackle what points towards being the worst ever pothole season.”

Anyone can report a road defect using Potholes.co.uk, which has contact details for councils across England, Scotland and Wales.

Jan 312010
 

potholesAs the temperature rises and the UK’s roads begin to clear following the icy weather*, campaign website Potholes.co.uk has noticed a surge in visitor numbers as record numbers of road users report poor roads across the UK.

Potholes.co.uk, which provides council contact details for people to report potholes as well as detailed advice on how to make a claim for damage caused by them, has already received more reports in January than in the whole of December, while daily visitor numbers have doubled in the past month.**

Many users of the site are describing how they’ve suffered from damaged tyres, wheels and suspension following the icy weather.

“The New Year’s ‘Pothole Season’ is well and truly upon us,” said Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct, which set up Potholes.co.uk in 2007. “We’ve seen a surge in people visiting the site and, sadly, we’re hearing the same stories again and again – people are hitting craters caused by icy conditions and already poor road quality, and they are having to pay out for new wheels and tyres.”

Ice causes potholes by breaking the asphalt apart – water runs into any cracks in a road or path and then expands as freezes, tearing the surface apart.

The ice then melts as the temperature rises above zero in the daytime, before freezing again at night and repeating the “freeze and thaw” process on a daily basis.

“The problem is made worse by the fact that in the UK, our roads are dug up so often. Trenches created by utility companies cause weaknesses that the ice gets into, and many of the pictures posted on the site are from patchwork-like roads,” says McClure Fisher. “Our users are telling us that councils are out there repairing potholes once they’re reported, but they’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Anyone can report a road defect using Potholes.co.uk, which has contact details for councils across England, Scotland and Wales.