A potty road ruling

PUBLISHED: 05:34 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:37 24 May 2010

WHEN is a pothole not a pothole? When it is a defect. It is official - not all holes in the road are potholes. According to official guidelines, hundreds if not thousands of craters in North Somerset's roads and pavements fail to measure up. Strict Govern

WHEN is a pothole not a pothole? When it is a defect.It is official - not all holes in the road are potholes. According to official guidelines, hundreds if not thousands of craters in North Somerset's roads and pavements fail to measure up.Strict Government rules state that unless a cavity in the road is 300mm across and 40mm deep it cannot be classed as a pothole - but is merely a defect.The Audit Commission has also decreed that footway potholes have to be 600mm across and 20mm deep.North Somerset Council said it cannot keep track of the number of potholes and defects which litter its 1,100km of highways. Priority potholes are filled in every day, say over-worked highway officials, but new ones are reported at the rate of 80 per month.The backlog of repairs is so grave the council says it will take £103million and 38 years to smooth things over on its crumbling roads and pavements. This means long-suffering motorists and cyclists as well as pavement plodding pedestrians can expect to be dodging defects and potholes until at least 2044.The council blames a lack of Government funding for the mess and says it only has an annual budget of £500,000 to deal with unplanned road repairs, including patching up potholes.Executive member for transport and strategic planning, Councillor John Crockford-Hawley, said: "For years it has been a patch and repair policy because there has not been enough capital money going into road repairs."At present, we are £82m behind in road repairs and £21m in repairing pavements. Engineers put repairs in priority order."If we don't get more money from the Government, the situation will continue to deteriorate. We have a finite number of road surfaces and an increasing number of vehicles using them.

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