Spike in potholes on UK roads linked to Beast from the East

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The recent blast of freezing weather will lead to a further spike in potholes on UK roads, motoring experts have warned.

Initial figures show pothole related breakdowns have already doubled following last week’s widespread snow and ice, according to the RAC.

Freezing water in road cracks when the Beast from the East struck has broken up surfaces already plagued by potholes, the firm said as it marked National Pothole Day.

How a pothole forms (PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“Our roads were already in a poor state of repair before the extreme cold weather hit.

“Siberian weather was the last thing they needed as the freezing conditions wreak havoc with any road surface in bad repair.

“We fear this spring may see the emergence of almost as many potholes as daffodils.”

The RAC received an average of 218 call outs for pothole related issues – such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels – between Sunday and Tuesday.

This is compared with 104 from February 1 to March 3.

Separate figures published by the Department for Transport show 22 cyclists have been killed and 368 seriously injured where a poor or defective road surface was a factor since 2007.

Sam Jones, senior campaigns officer for charity Cycling UK, said: “Unfortunately for cyclists, if they hit a pothole it’s not just a costly repair bill but also a strong possibility of personal injury, or in the worst cases death.”

AA president Edmund King described the figures as a “tragic toll”.

He called for three months of local authority income from fines for parking, bus lane and yellow box offences to be diverted to road funds as an “emergency measure”.

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “Councils are fixing a pothole every 19 seconds despite funding pressures.

“They want to do more but are trapped in an endless cycle of patching up our deteriorating network.

“It would already take £12 billion and more than a decade for councils to clear the current local roads repair backlog.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “This Government is taking the big decisions for Britain’s future and investing a record £23 billion on our roads to improve journeys.

“We know road surfaces are a concern for all road users and that is why we are providing local highway authorities in England, with just under £6 billion to help improve the condition of our local highway networks.

“We are also giving local authorities a record £296 million through the pothole action fund – that’s enough to fix just under 6 million potholes. This includes an additional £46 million as announced in December last year, to help councils repair potholes that may have formed over this winter season.”

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