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Concerns raised about the dangers of potholes on roads across Ealing to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians

Last Sunday (January 15 2023), saw National Pothole Day which aims to raise awareness of potholes on the roads and the danger of them to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in Ealing and across the country.

Vehicle breakdown service RAC has warned that this year could be very dangerous for anyone using roads and Ealing Liberal Democrats are calling on Labour-run Ealing Council to be pro active in how they assess and fix potholes in the borough.

In the RAC’s latest Report on Motoring report,  86% of drivers have had to deliberately steer to avoid potholes over the past year, a figure that rises to 90% of those in rural areas but and 81% in urban locations. Over half of all drivers (55%) rated pothole repairs in their local areas as poor or very poor.

Last year, EALING.NEWS reported about a pothole in North Acton that was left on the road for several months.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said: “The wet weather we’ve had both before and after the coldest start to winter in 12 years in December is the perfect recipe for potholes to start peppering the roads. We fear that by the Spring, drivers will be plagued by a plethora of potholes across the country’s roads which makes journeys uncomfortable and frustrating or, worse still, could lead to very expensive garage repair bills – the last thing anyone wants in a cost-of-living crisis.”

He added: “It’s also important to remember that potholes are so much more than just an annoyance, they are a true road safety danger, especially for those on two wheels as they represent a huge risk to their personal safety. As many drivers will no doubt testify, there are too many occasions where potholes have been poorly patched up by cash-strapped councils which then return all too quickly.”

Mark Andrews, Liberal Democrat Walpole team member, told EALING.NEWS: “As a cyclist and a motorist the shockingly low level maintenance of the road surface is a constant frustration. Liberal Democrats say that in order to preserve tyres and wheels I am required to weave around the road to remain safe. Now we are into the winter and probable frosts, it is inevitable that the poor quality of patches from relentless road works, from all the services, will begin to be lifted causing further damage to the road surfaces. This lack of maintenance and apparent non existent coordination of road works is replicated on the pavements, where uneven surfaces are a constant trip threat throughout the borough. Labour-run Ealing Council appear to care only about the development of high end apartment buildings and nothing for the residents who live here.”

Ealing Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm, Leader of the Opposition commented to EALING.NEWS: “It is important to look at both the condition of the road but also take into account what residents think about the roads near where they live. I have seen examples of where some streets are said to be in good condition when I think that the surface needs lots of repairs made. We need a dose of human judgement to make sure that the recommendations from the Council are sensible.”

Last year, when a pothole appeared on Victoria Road in North Acton and was left for several months before being fixed, Councillor Julian Gallant, Ealing Conservative leader told EALING.NEWS: “Ealing Conservatives have argued for a comprehensive programme of street repairs at every election since 2014. Potholes like these are not just unsightly; they damage vehicles and are genuinely dangerous for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.”

EALING.NEWS reached out to Ealing Council about National Pothole Day. In a statement to EALING.NEWS, a council spokesperson said: “Ealing Council carries out highways safety inspections in compliance with Well-managed Highway Infrastructure: A Code of Practice, October 2016. The inspections are carried out by a team of six inspectors who walk the entire network (627km of carriageway and 1062km of footway as part of the public highway) which is broken up into monthly, quarterly and six-monthly inspections. Roads have been categorised according to their functionality and usage.

“The purpose of highway safety inspections is to identify defects that are likely to create danger or serious inconvenience to users of the network or to the wider community. Decisions on whether to carry out repairs are taken using a risk based approach. Once a decision has been taken to undertake a repair, an order priority will be attached to the repair based on the assessed risk of the defect. Repair priorities range from one hour to seven days to thirty days.”

They added: “Outside of the inspection regime, inspections will be carried out on all reports to the Council via the website, social media channels, telephone calls etc. within twenty four hours, or within one hour if the report clearly states that a dangerous defect is present. The usual risk based approach to assessment and repair priority applies.

The winter months are traditionally well known for exposing roads to the “Freeze Thaw” effect, which damages the roads in wet and freezing conditions. Water in cracks expands into ice, causing the surface of the road to break up and deeper than usual potholes can occur.”

To let Ealing Council know about a pothole in the road, click here.

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