Pothole frustration for town’s drivers

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TYREBUSTING potholes are continuing to cause misery to Scarborough motorists.

More than a week since most of the snow and ice thawed, many drivers have become frustrated by the time it is taking for the holes to be filled in.

The particularly harsh and sustained frost during December has meant the potholes which have appeared are larger and more numerous than they have been in living memory.

The worst hit areas have included Overdale and Eastfield.

The Scalby Road, Scalby Village and Wheatcroft areas have also been severely affected.

Cllr Andrew Backhouse, Scarborough Council’s portfolio holder for highways and transport, said the town’s roads have already seen as much damage as in the whole of last winter.

“The roads have taken a battering,” he said. “We’ve had sustained low temperatures which have done in-depth damage. We could have managed a short hard frost a lot easier.”

Work began quickly to fill in many of the worst potholes on the town’s priority roads, with repairs already being carried out in Eastfield, Overdale, Scalby Road and Ramshill.

Temporary repairs on the most dangerous potholes in Wheatcroft is expected to begin today, while work in Scalby Village should commence this week.

However a lack of stocks of the material which is used to fill in the potholes meant that council workers have only been able to repair the hardest hit roads. Fresh supplies have been ordered.

Cllr Backhouse explained there is no quick fix to the problem, and asked for patience from Scarborough’s motorists.

“We will get round them all but it takes time and we want to make sure the repairs are robust and can withstand the forthcoming months,” he said. “There will be further damage when the bad winter weather returns.

“We have funds available and we believe we are in a strong position to manage our budget through the remaining three months of the financial year. However we are seeking additional money from the county council.

“We are doing our best but people need to understand they won’t be fixed overnight. We are mindful that we are only halfway through the winter period and further repairs will be necessary before the spring.”

Scarborough Borough Council has responsibility for roads in the urban Scarborough area, while North Yorkshire County Council is charged with maintaining roads in outlying areas.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire County Council said: “Our highways officers are currently assessing the extent of damage to the county’s roads caused by the prolonged spell of severe wintry weather in November and December. Some stretches of the network are only recently clear of snow and ice covering.

“Any damage causing urgent safety issues is being dealt with as soon as we become aware of them. Other damage is being considered as part of future work programmes along with any additional damage caused by any further periods of winter weather to come during this winter season.

“Highways maintenance remains a top priority and the county council continues to commit considerable resources to keeping North Yorkshire’s 5,000 miles of road, the largest network in the country, in the best condition possible.”

Across the UK, a record number of potholes have been reported this winter.

Fluctuating temperatures have been blamed, with freezing rainwater seeping into road surfaces and expanding. The pressure splits the road materials.

A spokesperson for the AA said: “Many roads are on borrowed time and that is significantly shortened when the weather is severe.

“After three successive bad winters, there is every indication that the pothole problems is going to be just as bad, if not worse, than last year.”

Cllr Peter Box, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Economy and Transport Board, added: “Unfortunately the outlook for motorists is not about to get any better.

“Local authorities faced with the perfect storm of crumbling roads and a black hole in their budgets are going to have some incredibly difficult decisions to make when it comes to prioritising repairs in a way which best serves their areas.”

Potholes in Scarborough can be reported to Customer First on 01723 232323.