Potholes Cost The Tax Payer Half a Million

Pothole repair, Essex

Pothole repair, EssexIn the last few months many Essex roads have been resurfaced to reduce the number of dangerous potholes. Essex has had a serious pothole problem for years (we reported on one pothole in Brentwood in August 2012) but recently work has been done to reduce the number of holes in our roads.

We may now know why the council decided to invest some of our tax into the transport infrastructure – it has cost the council around £500,000 compensation payments to drivers who had their cars damaged by potholes.

Between April 2009 and March 2012 Essex County Council settled 1501 compensation claims at a cost of £501,494 (averaging £334 per claim).

30,000 Holes Filled in 3 Months

Between July and October Essex CC filled in around 30,000 potholes. More work has been planned.

Essex CC have said that the exceptionally bad weather was the cause of such a rapid increase in potholes, and that they have been investing heavily recently (the pothole budget in Essex is £11 million) to reduce the potholes and make the roads more resilient.

Quick Repairs or Proper Job?

The problem that Essex County Council is now facing is that while it has invested heavily in repairing potholes, funds are limited and the repairs will not last forever. There are 2 ways to tackle potholes; do a quick repair that will keep the roads safe in the short-term but will not last, or do a permanent repair that costs more and as a result takes longer to complete – during which time more cars get damaged.

What is the best approach to potholes? To do a quick fix that may not last through to next Spring, or invest heavily in much better roads? The problem is that Essex CC may be coping at the moment because many people do not make a claim when their car is damaged by a pothole. But has the condition gets worse and news gets out that Essex pays compensation, more people will start claiming money back for their puncture repairs and more serious mechanical damage.

Photo by Pauline Eccles.


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