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Still in a jam over potholes
OXFORDSHIRE County Council has admitted it does not record which of its pothole repairs are permanent and which are temporary.
The county faces a huge task to repair thousands of holes in roads caused by poor weather.
In 2008/09, the authority repaired 8,902 potholes, but it is expected to have fixed 32,000 potholes in 2012/13.
However, it does not log what has been fully fixed, leading to residents reporting crumbling roads several times before a full repair is made.
Council leader Ian Hudspeth said that the cold weather had prevented a number of potholes from being repaired in the way they should have been.
He said cold tar had been used, instead of hot tar, as a temporary measure. Wantage resident John Cooper, 55, spent £400 on repairs to his car that two independent specialists blamed on potholes.
Mr Cooper, of Dean Butler Close, said the “lottery” of which roads were fully fixed was “appalling”.
He added: “Two garages have told me that pothole damage to my car has caused problems with wheels.
“It is an absolute joke that I pay all my taxes and the roads are left in this state.
“It is like a lottery and many drivers are looking out for potholes rather than driving properly, which is incredibly dangerous, but understandable.
“The money is there, but no-one can understand why their policy allows it to get like this.”
Graham Pitts, 71, of Poplar Grove, Kennington, said: “They’ve done the road now but it’s taken a long time to do it. They were too slow to fix it, especially the paths. There’s a three-inch hole in the path which I asked the council to fix four years ago and they haven’t done it.”
At a recent full council meeting, Conservative councillors refused to back a motion calling on highways chiefs to put pressure on contractors to fix potholes on time.
Lib Dem spokesman for infrastructure Anne Purse said some potholes were being left in the road network for months, despite a pledge by the council to fix them within 28 days.
She said: “It’s not just the roads which are breaking up, it’s the whole system. I know there are priorities and gangs go from one to the next, but I don’t think the job is being done properly.”
Council spokesman Owen Morton said that at no point during winter had permanent repairs or potholes been completely suspended.
He said:“It’s fair to say that cold material is more likely to be used for an emergency repair or temporary repair during colder periods.
“But ultimately, during repeated spells of wet and freezing weather, there’s no guarantee any repair – whether intended as permanent or temporary – will not fail.”
The council recently launched a special website where people could report potholes and sent 36 extra repair staff.
Since its launch on March 21 the council has received 541 online, and during the same period has repaired 2,000 defects.
The council refused to provide comparison figures for the previous year.
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