Northamptonshire County Council aims to repair dangerous potholes within two hours

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Northamptonshire County Council aims to repair dangerous potholes within two hours of being alerted, data obtained by the RAC Foundation shows.

That’s the most common response time, with the slowest councils in the UK taking up to five days.

Hitting a pothole, or even swerving to avoid one, can ruin a car’s suspension, steering or tyres, according to the AA.

In extreme cases they can cause serious accidents.

In 2018, the AA estimated potholes cost drivers and insurance companies £12 million.

It said: “The pothole epidemic has become nothing short of a national disgrace.”

A Freedom of Information request by the RAC found that Northamptonshire County Council determines how dangerous a pothole is by measuring its size and depth.

But the data shows deeper potholes on quiet lanes will still be less of a priority than minor defects on a major route.

On rarely-used roads, Northamptonshire County Council will only intervene when potholes are at least 7.5cm deep .

On busy major routes, potholes at least 4cm deep will be investigated.

The RAC Foundation recommends a different approach, assessing the impact of a pothole on road users over size.

Director Steve Gooding said: “The total number of potholes being filled in might still be limited by a shortage of funding, but this approach at least means those that are most dangerous are fixed first.

“Those particularly vulnerable to potholes – cyclists and motorcyclists – might ask whether the speed of pothole investigation should be based solely on the risk to users.”

Repairs for the least troublesome potholes in Northamptonshire could take up to a month.

The Local Government Association called for more funding for council-controlled local roads.

Transport spokesman Councillor Martin Tett said: “Keeping roads safe for all users is one of the most important jobs councils do.

“That’s reflected in the fact that local authorities are fixing a pothole every 21 seconds.”

He added that councils need “consistent and fairer government investment in local road maintenance”.