Cash that’s gone to pot

Wigans roads are crumbling and the council have slashed the road maintainence fund by 15 per cent. Pictured are potholes on Mesnes Road
Wigans roads are crumbling and the council have slashed the road maintainence fund by 15 per cent. Pictured are potholes on Mesnes Road
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WIGAN Council has forked out thousands of pounds to drivers whose cars were damaged by potholes on the borough’s weather-ravaged roads, we can reveal.

Town hall chiefs have been forced to pay out almost £8,000 in the last three years to reimburse motorists after their vehicles were damaged by roads and holes that should have been filled.

However, despite receiving 141 requests from drivers for compensation, just 22 cases were successful.

Council bosses today said the amount paid out to motorists was low compared to other local authorities and stressed there were rigorous inspections in place to ensure the safety of roads in the borough.

Mark Tilley, Wigan Council’s head of infrastructure, said: “We have a rigorous reporting and inspection regime and work closely with local access groups to ensure public safety on the highway.

“Potholes are identified from various sources, but mainly through regular highway safety inspections.

“We also thank the public for letting us know about issues as well.

“Those occurring on our busy main roads we aim to have repaired within a two hour response time, the less busy roads have a three day response maximum.

“While we aim to keep costs on reactive repairs to a minimum it is accepted that on a highway network of more than 1000km there will always be a need to deal with such occurrences and ensure public safety.”

The council paid out £2,078 in compensation to drivers affected by damaged roads in Wigan in 2010/11, £3,667 in 2009/10 and £2,174 in 2008/09.

The single largest compensation payout was £1,500 to a motorist who drove over an uncovered manhole in Warrington Road, Marus Bridge.

Other payouts included £200 to a driver whose vehicle needed repair after hitting a damaged speed ramp on Kitt Green Road, Kitt Green.

Concerns have grown for the state of the borough’s roads after sub-zero temperatures in December and January, followed by a rapid thaw, lifted many road surfaces.

Wigan Council has had its budget for maintaining highways axed by more than £400,000 for this year.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has cut funding for road repairs in Wigan to £2.6m for 2011/12 – a reduction of almost 15 per cent.