“We used to drive on the left of the road. Now we drive on what’s left of the road.”
Potholes are everywhere. More than 7500 cases of pot holes, trip hazards on pavements and flooded gullies have been reported to the County Council.
As Highways Lead on Ely Parish Council I get plenty of complaints about this. Particularly from New Barns. But the Parish Council is powerless to do much about it. It’s the County Council’s responsibility.
Bad news this week that Cambridgeshire will receive 20% less funding for road maintenance. Sad to see that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats indulged in some party political point scoring about it.
I think most of us understand that highways are not top priority at the moment.
So how do we spend the money we do have wisely?
I think we should fix the issues we’ve got before we build new roads. And that includes safety features not just repairs.
We all see examples of patchworks of repairs. We shouldn’t need to repair the same bit of road over and over. The same can be said for blocked drains – holes open up around them especially after frost. It’s high time the County Council got a grip on this. Maintenance contracts should be managed so that repairs are done once and properly.
And we need more radical thinking.
Government funding for road repairs is down £400m. And that’s taken off what was already less than we need otherwise the roads wouldn’t be in such a mess.
Last year a tyre company reported that motorists pay out £1.25 billion a year in repairs as a result of potholes. Yes, you read that right. That’s without counting the misery of accidents for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists caused by poor paths and roads.
I wonder how many people would be willing to pay extra in tax to fix our roads? And to fund research so that roads don’t break up so much. Much like modern dentistry, if you fill small cracks they don’t grow into big holes.