Wigan roads a ‘hole’ lot better

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Motorists needn’t expect such a bumpy ride on Wigan borough’s thoroughfares these days.

Because latest figures show that their condition is on the mend after several years of pothole misery.

We have reviewed the way we respond to fixing highway carriageways defects and have adopted a robust inspection system identifying defects and ensuring repairs are undertaken swiftly

Mark Tilley

Wigan Council received almost half the number of complaints about road surface issues in 2014/15 than it did in 2013/14: a drop from 1,236 to 657. And that’s because almost £1m more was spent on repair and upkeep: up from £1.7m to £2.6m.

The number of people who have made claims against the council for pothole-induced vehicle damage also nearly halved from 28 to 15 but the amount handed out to claimants has increased. The authority awarded £1,017.50 in 2013/14 to three claimants, but £1,529.86 to four in 2014/15.

The most complained about route was Up Holland Road in 2014/15 which took over from Leigh’s Westleigh Lane - probably as a result of resurfacing work carried out by the council between 2013 and 2015.

Mark Tilley, the council’s assistant director of infrastructure and regulatory services, said: “Over the last two years the Council Infrastructure Asset Group has targeted its investment into the resurfacing of carriageways which has helped in bringing down the overall number of defects such as potholes occurring.

“We have reviewed the way we respond to fixing highway carriageways defects and have adopted a robust inspection system identifying defects and ensuring repairs are undertaken swiftly, thus reducing claim numbers and resulting in the overall condition of the borough’s roads being one of the best in the region.”

The Federation of Small Business (FSB), which obtained the figures via a freedom of information request, said all but three of the 10 Greater Manchester boroughs saw a drop in road condition complaints. Greater Manchester FSB chairman Simon Edmondson said: “Our members rely heavily on the local road networks to do business, with employees, customers and trade deliveries relying on fast and efficient networks. Poorly maintained roads impede that. While this research shows councils are, on the whole, making some headway in maintaining our region’s road network to an acceptable standard, there’s still room for improvement. There were somewhere in the region of 20,000 complaints in 2014/15 – that figure tells its own story about our roads.”