I might well be at risk of going over old ground here (see what I did there?), but I’m really, well and truly, completely and utterly sick to the back teeth of the state of the roads across towns and villages of the Ribble Valley, unfortunately, without exception.
Literally everywhere you go, the potholes are there, lying in wait like little booby traps and waiting to catch you out when you least expect it. My poor little car.
So, the facts are that road maintenance in England and Wales is currently underfunded to the tune of £1 billion a year (55% down on what’s needed). Potholes are a major factor in causing axle and suspension failure, which costs British motorists more than £2.8 billion and local authorities currently pay out more than £30m. in compensation claims due to poor road surfacing.
Of course, it cannot be disputed the county council are between a rock and a hard place. With budget cuts at their highest ever levels, we cannot sensibly expect many services we take for granted to be maintained at the highest level. But, come on – these are our roads! Which, whether on foot, by car, cycle or bus, or some other motorised vehicle, we all have to use. Every day. A fundamental part of day-to-day life.
The other day, on my way back from Chatburn after one school drop and on the way to Waddington for the second, I was swerving around holes in the road to the extent it felt like I was on a rally course (without the speed, obviously, fine officers and protectors of Lancashire’s highways).
I successfully negotiated most of my route, though narrowly missing a couple of pheasants, before coming a cropper at the top of Scar Head hill, West Bradford. Bang! The funny little yellow light even came up on the dashboard to tell me my “suspension had been severely compromised” according to my handbook... What?!
Seriously – I could have easily crashed the car. It was on a bad bend and slamming on the brakes could have caused an accident, not to mention it’s a main walking route for school children.
And what system do they use to prioritise the holes to be filled? That also seems like a lottery, with two or three being filled on one stretch of road and others left alone. Does someone come along with a tape measure to make sure they have reached a certain width or depth to be deemed this month’s “chosen ones”?
I’m off to price up tyres and Google “compromised suspension”.