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Britain in a pothole repair crisis?

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Councils across Greater Manchester are facing a £50 million bill to repair potholes this year.

Some town halls will be forced to borrow at least £14 million to cover the costs of the repairs. The towns needing help to fund the amount is Stockport, Wigan, Oldham and Salford.

Salford will need to borrow the most at £7.6m, followed by Oldham with £5.9m. Stockport requires an extra £2m and Wigan need £460,000.

In total, 10 Greater Manchester councils will spend £52,494,247 filling potholes and repairing roads.

The news of the repairs follows claims that Britain is in a ‘pothole repair crisis’.

Ian Whittell, of cycling group Manchester Wheelers’ Club, said the amount being spent was necessary. He said: “It sounds like a lot and clearly we need it. There have been some repairs in south Manchester this year but it has been a very bad winter and you can see the damage. This isn’t about comfort, it is about safety – so you have to applaud any effort made to pull these funds together. As more and more people become interested in cycling, it is very important we take this seriously. If you hit a pothole, particularly some of the bigger ones, at the wrong time and the wrong place, it can lead to fatal accidents and does so every year. So I applaud any investment made in sorting out our roads.”

Many accidents have occurred as a result of potholes in the Manchester area.

A university researcher states that roads in south Manchester have become a real concern.
The researcher uses a bike to get to work everyday and he states "I have had some very close calls, all of the potholes seem to be on the sides of the roads where the bikes are, so it is bad for cars but really dangerous for cyclists. You have a choice: Am I going to hit the side of the road or the pothole or the car?”

He added: “They are actually painful. Whether it is your arms, your back or sitting on the seat, when you hit the pothole it is just painful. If they are large enough and they catch you off guard it is dangerous. If your wheel hits one you could fall or hit a car."

Another lady has stated that she has fallen from her bike due to pot holes and that her boyfriend was left in intensive care after hitting one.

Stating further she said, “There are really big ones in north Manchester. When my boyfriend went into intensive care he had been coming down the hill in the rain. He hit the pothole, his hands slipped forward, and he went into a lamp post. We reported it and the council covered that one up, but it did take them a really long time. I have fallen and people I know have too.”

She added: “I don’t think there is really an incentive to report them. If you believed the council were going to do something about it quickly then maybe you would report more.”

By Tara Lever from Stephensons' personal injury team