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£20m is price of pothole problem in Devon and Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 05, 2013

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Councils face a multi-million pound repair bill as the shocking state of the flood-damaged South West road network is revealed in a new report.

Local authorities in the Westcountry are assessing the rising cost to highways of the recent heavy rain, flooding and landslips, with early estimates suggesting the final tally will top £20 million.

This comes as a major survey says the region's crumbling roads contain an average of 5.2 potholes for every mile, which adds up to around 65,000 over 12,500 miles in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset.

In Devon, where six bridges were lost in the floods, councillors do not know where they are going to find much of the £13 million needed to shore up the roads in Plymouth and across the county.

In Cornwall, the council has filled in 6,000 potholes in the nine months since the drought broke in April but fresh damage caused in November and December could drain an extra £7 million.

Somerset, meanwhile, also says its bill will run into the millions.

Tim Jones, chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, said businesses paying road tax and high fuel prices felt they were being "short-changed".

He said there had been more complaints in the past three months than at any other time he could remember.

"We must not be complacent about this – our roads shape perceptions of how business is conducted," he added.

"With the recent disruption to the trains, people returned to the roads and they are beginning to notice the problem a lot more."

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  • JJLee  |  January 07 2013, 3:11PM

    All the chat from councils about money saving and yet all this work is outsourced at great expense when logic says it a requirement and an on-going issue so the council should employ a team to do this work at a sensible cost to us tax payers

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  • iseveryidused  |  January 07 2013, 1:10AM

    Also, because road repairs are all carried out by private contractors, there is an obvious cost implication. If a contractor is asked to repair a pothole, he will repair that pothole only, rather than maybe extend the repair another foot to encompass an adjacent smaller pothole. If it was a council team, who were responsible for the upkeep of the roads anyway, they could be given the flexibility to use a little common sense and do a repair which would last longer.

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  • dinxchamp  |  January 06 2013, 11:48AM

    Money is wasted on road repairs due to cheap materials being used and sloppy workmanship. Take the Roche to Bugle run, 3 times in the last 12 months that road's been closed repairing the SAME holes! If it was fixed properly in the first place it would need constant maintenance.

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  • Nonnymoose  |  January 05 2013, 2:18PM

    You have to wonder what this bill would be if the roads had been properly maintained over the last say 20 years. When will the powers that be realise that proper regular and competent maintenance is the cheapest option in the longer term.

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  • NonEmmit  |  January 05 2013, 12:38PM

    There is NO way that the councils of Devon & Cornwall are going to fund or send 20 million. Central government only pass on a fraction of the taxes raised out of road users, and then local councils only use a fraction of that fraction. So there isn't the funding. The road taxes need ring fencing from the top, to stop government and councils Blackmailing the public with the threat of other services like 'old people and children services' suffering. Correctly use the money for what it is for, and not other pet projects. At the moment the majority of the road system is like a third world country and it has been for some time the latest floods only making thing worse, the only road half decent are the motorways most other are dangerous in places .The road network is very near if not on the tipping point where whole roads will have to be completely resurfaced from one end to the other.

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  • DJANGO6421  |  January 05 2013, 12:37PM

    Had plymouth city council not wasted £65 million on the so called life centre the pot holed roads could have been fixed three times over!!

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  • twain1  |  January 05 2013, 10:03AM

    They should prioritise the deep craters which are a danger to all road users. Secondly, the alleged ''safety'' speed bumps that crumble weekly and cut the insides of your tyres if you drive over them correctly. The roads are so bad that you can no longer assume that if the car in front is weaving all over the road that they're using a mobile.

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