Pothole problem is a real smasher

The cracked and buckled wheel of Phil Morgan's car
The cracked and buckled wheel of Phil Morgan's car
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COUNCIL bosses have promised to fix a pothole plagued rural road after a motorist was left with a hefty repair bill when his car wheel was smashed by a monster hole.

Unlucky driver Phil Morgan reckons he was only travelling at around 10mph when he hit the giant water-filled pothole on Long Lane, Barnacre.

The impact not only wrecked his tyre but cracked his alloy wheel so badly a mechanic described it as the worst impact damage he’d ever seen. The repair costs have been estimated in excess of £350.

Mr Morgan measured the offending hole at nearly 16cm deep - and says that the county council should be doing more to maintain the highways, or should close badly affected stretches of road until they can be made safe.

Mr Morgan lives in Barnacre and says he and his fellow local residents usually avoid Long Lane because it is notorious for its potholes, even though it is a main route from Oakenclough and Barnacre through to Garstang.

“I was very much aware of the poor surface so was going very slowly’’ Mr Morgan explained. “I really am very angry that despite my best efforts, I still caused considerable and expensive damage.

“The pothole that caught me out came at the end of almost a 100 yard stretch that cannot be negotiated at anything other than crawl. The road has been like that for some time, certainly since before the bad weather, although it has got worse since the snow and ice at Christmas.

“The road should have been fixed, or closed if it is too dangerous to drive along.

“It is not enough to cite budget cuts and priorities as an excuse. I am firmly of the belief that the council are reacting only when pressed hard, whereas it is their responsibility to be pro-active, inspect and carry out suitable and long term repair work.’’

Mr Morgan is also acutely aware of the state of local roads as a member of Garstang Cycling Club, and says potholes have become an increasing cause for concern.

“The hot topic at the cycling club is the sheer number of dangerous potholes in the local area. Damaging a car wheel is one thing but to a cyclist this is more than a hazard, it would throw them off the bike and undoubtedly cause personal injury.’’

Mr Morgan is claiming the cost of the damage to his car back from the county council.

Lancashire County Council says it is not cutting funding to highway maintenance and is, in fact, investing £32.5m more on top of the highways funding provided by government over the four years of the current administration, for work including ‘running repairs’ to fix potholes and new capital investment for full resurfacing schemes.

In response to Mr Morgan’s complaint Sim Lane-Dixon, public realm manager for Wyre, said: “Our roads have suffered as a result of the last three winters which have been particularly harsh, and it is inevitable that in February what were previously small cracks have opened up into potholes.

“Our repair crews are working very hard to try to keep on top of the damage and repair the potholes that have appeared – we’re planning to do some work on Long Lane in the next week.

“We do have a system of dealing with the worst potholes first when our inspectors or members of the public report them. We have begun the task of repairing the damage that has occurred over the winter but I’d ask people to be patient as repairing roads is a year-round job and we can’t do it all in the first weeks of spring.”

* Have you had a pot-hole nightmare? Do you agree the county council should be doing more to fix the roads or are they doing a good job? Contact us with your views at garstang.courier@lep.co.uk, or write to us at: Editor’s Postbag, Garstang Courier, 7 Pringle Court, Park Hill Road, Garstang, PR3 1LN.