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Pothole epidemic ‘set to cause traffic misery’
Potholes are created when moisture seeps into cracks in the road surface and freezes, cracking open when it freezes and expands

DRIVERS should brace themselves for months of traffic misery as a decade of reliance on cheap and brittle road repair materials finally takes its toll says Potholes.co.uk, the Warranty Direct campaign website.

Last week, the M32 near Bristol was partly closed when one lane required emergency repair work for potholes that appeared ‘overnight’. And a half-mile section of the M6 motorway will also have two lanes closed at Garstang next week for pothole repairs.

Data from 10,000 pothole reports shows that the craters appearing on the UK’s crumbling network are deeper than ever before, increasing from three to four inches on average in the past two years, and also that the problem is not limited just to smaller rural roads.

Potholes.co.uk says the problem is caused by the use of cheap repair materials – brittle, porous Stone Mastic Asphalt – instead of more hard-wearing Hot Rolled Asphalt – over the last 10-15 years.

After the UK experienced exceptional rainfall in November and December, as well as snow in January, drivers will suffer disruption and extended journey times resulting from highway authorities closing lanes for repairs and average speeds dropping as vehicles slow to avoid pockmarked roads.

Potholes.co.uk was set up in 2007 by Warranty Direct and has seen a sharp spike in the number of road defects reported. Since the beginning of December 2012, the number of drivers complaining on the site has more than doubled.

The Local Government Association says the Department for Transport will reduce budgets for councils by £442 million over the five years of the Comprehensive Spending Review, leaving authorities £164 million worse off by 2014-15.

Warranty Direct managing director Duncan McClure Fisher told Business Vans: “The pothole epidemic is the direct result of years of under-investment in our roads by the Government. Temporary fixes have just escalated the problem over the years and our highways have now got more holes than Swiss cheese.

“Unless more permanent repair materials and methods are adopted immediately, Britain may never again be able to get through a winter without having to contend with a Third World road network.”

Keep up to date with developments in our Business Van News section.

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