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Pothole claims cost Lincolnshire County Council £1.2m in last two years

Potholes on roads in Lincolnshire have cost the county council almost £1.2 million in legal claims for damages in the past two years.

An investigation has revealed there were 384 personal injury claims over this period and 4,726 claims for property damage.

This equates to around 213 per month, according to the figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

A pothole in Barrowby Gate, taken in December 2018. (6184144)
A pothole in Barrowby Gate, taken in December 2018. (6184144)

Claims and payouts in 2018 were far higher than in 2019 with Lincolnshire County Council coughing up around £1.05 million followed by £130,000. This was spread over 3,589 and 1,521 claims respectively.

The council says it takes the condition of the county’s 5,500 miles of roads very seriously but has struggled with “chronic underinvestment” from central government.

It has spent £38.5 million on proactive roadworks since 2010 and around £3.6 million ‘reactively’ responding to reports of damage to highways.

Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “In 2019, we saw a significant reduction in the number of claims compared to the year before, showing an improving picture on the roads.

“The council hates potholes just as much as drivers do, and we repaired over 8,000 on our roads in January alone. However, with around 5,500 miles of roads across Lincolnshire, it would be unreasonable to expect them all to be completely free of potholes at all times.

“We do everything we can to repair potholes as quickly as possible, prioritising repairs on the busiest roads and those that pose the most risk to drivers. Dangerous defects are often dealt with within 24 hours, while more minor defects will be repaired in a matter of weeks.”

He added: “The council does the absolute best it can with the resources we have, but ultimately our road network has suffered from chronic underinvestment from central government. This is why we will keep pressing for fairer funding for Lincolnshire’s roads.”

Potholes are formed when water seeps into tiny cracks in the road that are usually caused by traffic. The cracks widen when the water freezes and expands which leaves pockets of air when the waters later melts. The constant pressure from cars and lorries then causes areas of the road surface to collapse and form craters.

* Have you made a claim or been affected by potholes on roads in the area? Send us your photos and experiences to comment@granthamjournal.co.uk

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