Depth of Northamptonshire’s pothole problem revealed

Potholes on the B569 between Irchester and Wollaston.
Potholes on the B569 between Irchester and Wollaston.

The combined depth of reported potholes in Northamptonshire is just over three times the height of the Statue of Liberty, new research has claimed.

A road defect must be at least 5cm to be classed as a pothole by Northants County Council – with 5,955 potholes reported via Street Doctor in 2016.

That makes the minimum total depth almost 298m – three times the height of the US landmark, the height of 50 giraffes or 150 artificial Christmas trees.

The authority spent £381,081 on repairs and paid £10,279 in compensation to road users affected by the reported craters, according to Freedom of Information requests collated by Confused.com.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “In Northamptonshire we continue to focus on innovative ways of maintaining and improving the road network for drivers and cyclists alike, while maximising value for money.

“Our first priority is to keep the road network in Northamptonshire safe and fit for purpose, despite facing significant financial pressures.

“Over the past few years we have moved away from temporary maintenance and instead focus on more proactive, preventative re-surfacing work and semi-permanent repairs on highways defects.

“These figures refer only to the amount spent on repairing potholes reported to Street Doctor, which is only a small proportion of the total spend.

“Despite recent progress we’re also aware that there’s a great deal of work that still needs to be done which will cost many more millions of pounds.

“We inspect the roads and footways all year round, in line with national practice, but also ask that people use our Street Doctor service to report any defects at www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/streetdoctor.”

Earlier this year, this newspaper revealed that the B569 between Irchester and Wollaston could be the county’s most pothole-ridden road.

Almost half of the successful compensation claims over 12 months were paid to drivers affected on that route.

County councillor Mick Scrimshaw (Lab) got so frustrated by potholes in Kettering that he started placing a rubber duck in each one he saw before sending a picture to the council.

In the East Midlands, Derbyshire’s roads were found to be affected by the most potholes.

Their 14,176 potholes had a combined depth of 567m, with a whopping £4.6m spent on repairs and £59,478 paid in compensation.

The combined depth of the UK’s 1,033,486 potholes is more than 40km deep and 3.7 times the depth of the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said: “Scrolling to depths of more than 40km really puts into perspective just how deep the UK’s pothole problem really is.

“They are a major bugbear among drivers, not least because of the damage they do to our vehicles – around £3.1m worth of damage, which has been paid out by almost half of the UK’s councils.

“If drivers experience a bump in the road, they should report it to their local council as soon as possible before the problem gets any worse.

“The cost of motoring alone is getting more and more expensive and damage repairs is a big contributor to this, as car parts increase in price as well.”