VIDEO: The state of our roads is shocking, and it's getting worse
Earlier this month was National Pothole Day - but this is very much a local issue too.
The shocking state of many of our roads is something that affects us all. And it’s getting worse.
That’s why the Observer is launching a campaign this week to improve the surfaces of our roads.
Whether you’re a driver, cyclist or pedestrian, potholes are a costly and dangerous menace as vehicles attempt to swerve to avoid a looming crater or bounce through them risking uncertain damage or causing an accident.
Drivers frustrated by the borough’s pothole problem have been given some cause for relief in Wigan Council’s annual budget.
Leader Lord Peter Smith last week announced at the full council meeting that half a million pounds will be ploughed into road and pavement repairs.
Motorists have repeatedly hit out at the state of major routes across Wigan in recent months and Lord Smith acknowledged the winter months have taken their toll.
However, help could be at hand to repair some of the blackspots with a £500,000 funding pot.
Lord Smith said: “This money will be spent on the roads and pavements repairing the winter damage.
Many people have been left counting the personal cost of a close encounter with a pothole and felt the frustration of wondering why, when we pay so much in various taxes, the roads which are at the heart of all aspects of daily life are in such bad way.
Lord Smith explained: “We don’t want to go round slashing services in this period of austerity, we want to keep as many as necessary for the people of Wigan.”
The quality of the roads across the borough has been something of a contentious topic in recent times.
The town hall vigorously defended its record at the start of this year after Whitley engineer Ian Hall slammed the local authority for inadequately patching up potholes rather than dealing with the issues properly.
In response the council said it had set aside £2.8m in the last financial year for highways work and thousands of jobs had been fixed.
However, letters to the Observer from disgruntled drivers have continued to flood in.
Lancashire County Council, which has responsibility for areas including Up Holland and Wrightington, also recognised there was potentially a problem in its area last month when it announced revised highways guidelines which suggested potholes should have priority when drawing up the lists of repair jobs.
Of course, potholes are not a new problem and the authorities responsible for tackling them are well aware of the issue - but the dramatic variations in temperature and weather conditions in recent weeks has exacerbated the issue.
Let us be clear, we do not blame our local authorities and councils for the dire state of some of our roads and the purpose of this campaign is not to unfairly criticize them or their highways teams.
In recent years they have had their budgets severely pruned and difficult choices have had to be made.
But enough is enough.
The road network is core infrastructure for the economy, for residents and for the emergency services. It is vital it is improved.
So this is what we are asking of you today.
Send us a photo or video of a pothole that is causing you greatest concern.
You can do that by e-mailing us at [email protected], by post to Wigan Observer, Martland Mill, Wigan, WN5 0LX, or on our social media pages.
At the same time include a few details of where it is.
Please copy this information to the council.
Make sure that when you are taking a photo you do so safely and do not put yourself at risk from traffic.
For our part, we will be speaking to the council about the pothole concerns that you raise and, working with our sister newspapers across England, and will support them in any lobbying of central government for additional funding.
Potholes may sound trivial. They are anything but. They have the potential to cause serious accidents and inflect substantial damage on our vehicles.
Improving our roads is essential to making our communities safer and better places in which to live and work.
Our video shows Wigan people speaking about some of the nasty potholes in Shevington and other disgruntled folk across the North West.