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State of our roads is causing misery for residents

The mix of hot weather and heavy rain during spring has caused a noticeable deterioration in Stretford and Urmston’s roads. The Urmston Lib Dem team has been made aware of recent road repairs that leave something to be desired. In some cases, potholes were only partially repaired; according to Trafford Council, a road defect is only deemed “actionable” for repair once it reaches a depth of 40mm (link). Only the area that meets this criterion will be patched, while the surrounding area will be ignored, even if it contains significant defects, meaning that return trips for further repairs would be likely be required in the winter.

In other places, parts of road that have been resurfaced previously are seen to have degraded more quickly than the original surface adjacent, to a state where repairs are needed once more.

Image: Resurfaced road in Davyhulme suffering significant degradation

Road defects that meet the condition for repair are prioritised according to set guidelines. Those assigned ‘emergency’ status must be repaired within 24 hours, while for those assessed as ‘normal’, the repair must be carried out within 28 days. However, the Lib Dem team is aware of cases in the area where damage to cars has been caused even by potholes in the lowest category. Provided that the Council meets nationally mandated timescales for inspection and repair, it is unlikely that a claim for negligence can be made, and so any repair costs will be borne by the car owner or their insurer. It is therefore important that road users are aware of these risks, particularly after extreme weather, when new potholes are most likely to form.

Image: Potholes in Urmston

To understand why our roads are in such poor condition, one has to question whether the 23-year contract signed with support services company Amey in 2015 by the then Conservative-run council, represents good value for money for Trafford residents. There is a sense that a “bare-minimum” approach is taken to repairs, with a focus on compliance with legal requirements to avoid litigation rather than delivering a road surface that is acceptable to residents. And with Trafford warning that it may have to issue a Section 114 notice, effectively declaring itself bankrupt (link), this situation will not be improving for the foreseeable future.

If you have concerns or would like to discuss this more, please contact Stretford & Urmston Liberal Democrats via email hello@sandulibdems.org.uk

posted: 31st Jul 2020