Are our roads really in a suitable state?
One councillor thinks not, and we took to the roads with him with a make-shift ‘pothole-o-meter’ to test how bumpy our roads really are.
OK, an old Quality Street tin filled with spoons may be unscientific, but the sound of the rattling tin does illustrate the number of times our car bumped over potholes and patchy road surfaces along two roads in Mirfield.
Clr Martyn Bolt, deputy Conservative leader, thinks it’s a false economy for Kirklees not to ‘invest to save’ on our roads.
His party didn’t submit a proposal to this month’s Kirklees Budget calling for more spending on the roads, but Clr Bolt said he believed the authority could do better with the same money.
He said: “We’ve a number of problems, one is the poor reinstatement of the roads by utility companies, it leads to a patchwork style road with parts of the road wearing away, them using unsuitable materials and so on.
“We, as a council, should be inspecting them and ordering utility companies to do the job properly, or do it ourselves and bill them.
“New roads or roads that are re-surfaced are failing, a poor specification of materials and supervision of the work is to blame.
“I’m told Kirklees inspects our roads every month and that faults are put down for remedy, but Crowlees Road, one of the roads we drove down, has been like that for years.
“We need to face the fact that the public are having to pay out for repairs on suspension because our roads are damaging cars.
“The council will then have to pay out compensation. What we need is better maintenance, and think of maintenance as investing to save money in the long-run.”
In 2016 £10,487 was paid out in 2015/16 to 16 claimants – most drivers who tried to claim didn’t get anywhere with only 11% of claims being successful last year.
There are more than 40,000 potholes reported every year to Kirklees.
During our pothole-o-meter tour we drove along Crowlees Road in Mirfield, which caused our tin to rattle a lot along one bumpy section.
We also drove along the A644 Huddersfield Road from Steanard Lane to the traffic lights in the centre of Mirfield and the tin rattled along part of the major commuter road.
The Examiner has asked Kirklees more about their plans to fill potholes in 2017. We’re waiting for comment.