Wigan is winning the war on potholes

Motorists are getting a much less bumpy ride than many other parts of the country.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 11:07 am
Updated Thursday, 25th November 2021, 11:15 am

Because Wigan has half as many potholes than the national average.

Around one in every 50 miles of main road in the borough needs repairing, figures suggest.

The AA said England’s roads are stuck in a rut with motorists facing a “plethora of potholes” on their journeys.

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Council-run roads were surveyed in the 12 months to March 2021 and classed as “red” if they should be considered for maintenance.

But figures from the Department of Transport show two per cent of A roads in Wigan were put in this worst category – down from three per cent in 2019-20.

And one per cent of B and C roads were also in need of work.

And that compares very favourably with the national picture where one in every 25 miles of English A roads is in poor condition.

The examinations are largely done using scanner machines, which identify sections of road worn by use or affected by ruts, bumps or potholes.

However, the DfT said a different method was used in Wigan, which means the area should not be directly compared to others.

The DfT said the proportion of roads in the red category is “stable” following a slight increase during 2019-20, but there has been no change since 2015-16.

A recent AA survey indicated that nine out of 10 drivers want the Government to heavily invest in fixing local roads.

The organisation’s head of roads policy, Jack Cousens, said: “While the Government claims road conditions are ‘stable’, the harsh reality is that they are stuck in a rut.

“Road users don’t have to travel too far from home to see a plethora of potholes, fractured tarmac, worn away surfaces and faded road markings which make driving and cycling uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst.”

The DfT figures suggest the smallest roads in England are in an even worse condition than classified ones, with one in every six miles in the “red” category.

In Wigan, 15 per cent of unclassified roads were in need of maintenance in 2020-21 – ​up from 10 per cent a year previously.

The RAC said it is “hugely concerning” how many smaller roads are earmarked for maintenance, as unclassified roads in more rural areas tend to have worse safety records.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “We had hoped that the fact so few people were using the roads last year because of the pandemic would have given councils a golden opportunity to catch up on much-needed road repairs.

“Sadly, this data appears to show there’s still a huge amount to be done.

“Given the vast sums drivers pay in taxes every year, it’s only reasonable for them to expect all roads to be in a good condition.”

A DfT spokesman said: “The Government is investing over £5 billion in roads maintenance over this Parliament, enough to fill in millions of potholes a year, repair dozens of bridges and help resurface roads up and down the country.”

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