Road repairs defended as pothole problems raised

Wigan Council has defended its work on potholes after photos suggested residents were being shaken up on the borough's roads.

Friday, 19th January 2018, 3:37 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd January 2018, 2:15 pm
A pothole on Scot Lane spotted by Ian Hall

The local authority insisted the number of defects on highways across Wigan and Leigh was coming down and said investment had been targeted towards resurfacing carriageways.

However, images taken by a Wigan Observer photographer on just one day suggested drivers were having a rough ride in the first days of the New Year.

Large holes and other problems with the surface were spotted on streets in areas including Martland Mill, Swinley and Wigan town centre.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Despite that the town hall said thousands of problems were fixed last year.

Mark Tilley, assistant director for infrastructure, said: “For some time we have targeted investment into the resurfacing of carriageways which has helped in bringing down the overall number of defects such as potholes occurring.

“From April to December 2017 our highways team completed 6,804 jobs on our roads with a further 404 already schedule in for repair.”

The local authority said that in the 2017-18 financial year £2.8m had been set aside for planned highway maintenance and around £0.96m was for repair work which cropped up in the 12-month period.

The council also faced criticism from Whitley resident Ian Hall who accused highways engineers of only doing temporary repair jobs on road defects rather than carrying out long-lasting work.

He used as an example a large hole on the bridge over the canal at Scot Lane, where he snapped a gaping hole in the road surface in December.

Google Maps shows there has been an issue in the same spot for some time, with the road surface sealed up in the 2009 image only for it to be cordoned off for roadworks in 2012.

The September 2014 image shows clear evidence of work with a prominent line across the carriageway but the area with the fault becomes obvious in 2015 and 2016 images, with the repairs seemingly giving way to produce a large pothole some time between then and the date Mr Hall took his photograph.

Mr Hall said: “The fault on the bridge keeps opening up again and again. There are other examples all over Wigan, the Cherry Gardens being one particular site.

“The whole Victorian mentality of having a job to do seems to have gone. We seem to have forgotten how to do things properly.

“It shouldn’t be too difficult to get something like a pothole repair right first time.”

However, Mr Tilley said the council was aware of the issue there and was hopeful of a more permanent solution being found. He also defended the council’s record on fixing potholes.

He said: “We are aware of the location at Scot Lane and are working closely with our maintenance team in order to programme in a permanent fix that will protect the bridge decking and the highway surface.

“We have reviewed the way we respond to fixing road defects and have adopted a robust inspection system identifying defects and ensuring repairs are undertaken swiftly and properly, and that’s why the borough’s roads are one of the best in the region.

“The majority of minor highway repairs are fixed permanently at the first visit, which is a huge credit to our highways team.

“This fits in with the national recommendations of the Well Maintained Highways code of practice.”

Wigan Council can be alerted to any road defects using the Report It app.