Councils face £750m bill to fix potholes across region

A pothole on Sharon Road in Kelloe, County Durham.

A pothole on Sharon Road in Kelloe, County Durham.

First published in News
Last updated

THE full cost of repairing the region's pothole-ridden roads could be more than £750m, The Northern Echo can reveal.

The shocking highways maintenance backlog figure had led to warnings of a looming roads crisis.

North Yorkshire needs at least £220m to bring its roads back up to a high standard. However it fears the cost could be as high as £440m unless urgent action is taken.

County Durham is thought to be facing a £215m repair bill. In Darlington, the cost has been put at £45m.

Highways bosses say the severe winters of 2009 and 2010 and recent flooding and freezing have left the roads in an appalling condition and due to austerity-related budget restraints, work will overwhelmingly focus on essential repairs.

North Yorkshire County Council highways chief, Councillor Gareth Dadd, said the 5,500 miles of roads he is responsible for would remain in a terrible state, despite £9m extra being spent on the network in the next two years.

He said: £I can't stress enough how badly damaged the network has been.

"But it is a balance and always will be between looking after our vulnerable people in society and attending to what we can on the roads."

North Yorkshire and Durham county councils this week announced additional funding of £857,000 and £500,000 respectively for work to prevent flood damage to roads, such as clearing drains, in an attempt to slow the deterioration.

After calling for Durham County Council to increase its highways maintenance spending, Weardale councillor John Shuttleworth said the authority's backlog had soared from £75m in 2007 to about £215m.

Coun Shuttleworth said: "They are papering over the cracks and if we don't get to grips with it we will look like a Third World country soon."

The council's leader, Councillor Simon Henig, said the authority had not been given enough funding by the Government to tackle the huge backlog.

He said: "I think we need some honesty from the Government that the roads are going to deteriorate."

Darlington Borough Council's transport boss, Councillor David Lyonette said he was confident of being able to undertake all the essential work on the authority's 356-mile road network, but a landslip at Carlbury, Coniscliffe, had increased pressure on the roads budget.

The AA said a recent study of 23,000 of its members had revealed 34 per cent of motorists in the North-East and Yorkshire had experienced damage from driving on damaged roads in the last two years.

A spokesman said: £We are now entering a spiral of decline due to budget cuts and the vagaries of the weather.

"It is a false economy to cut back on road maintenance. Long-term sustained investment is needed."

But Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "We are providing councils with more than £3bn between 2011 and 2015 to maintain their roads and pavements.

£It is ultimately up to local highway authorities to determine how they prioritise their funding, but we want to help them get the best value for money."

Middlesbrough Council put its repair bill at £30m, but said an extra £6m has been invested in highway maintenance over the last three years.

Hartlepool Council said it has about £25m of maintenance and repair work outstanding to bring all of the borough's roads back into perfect condition.

A spokesperson said: "However, the funding which we receive from the Government for this is only about £700,000 per year, so we have to carefully prioritise the work we carry out."

Stockton Borough Council could not put a figure on its maintenance backlog, but Councillor Mike Smith, cabinet member for regeneration and transport, said: "Last year we spent £1.1m on repairs, resurfacing and larger highway maintenance schemes.

"We are anticipating to spend a similar amount next year and in addition we have received £360,000 from Government to help pay for six major resurfacing projects."

The Northern Echo is on pothole-watch. We want your help to build a map of the worst potholes on the region’s roads.

Send us your pictures:

Mobile: Text 80360 using keyword NORTHERN ECHO

Email: newsdesk@nne.co.uk
Twitter: Tweet us using hashtag #echopotholes

Please make sure your message includes the location of the pothole.

Comments (19)

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10:19am Sat 23 Feb 13

bishop1 says...

only a matter of time until someone is killed or seriously injured due to the state of the roads as they are an absolute disgrace , no good having to look for pot holes instead of looking where you are going .
might sell my car & buy a tank , at least the pot holes won't break that .
only a matter of time until someone is killed or seriously injured due to the state of the roads as they are an absolute disgrace , no good having to look for pot holes instead of looking where you are going . might sell my car & buy a tank , at least the pot holes won't break that . bishop1
  • Score: 1

10:49am Sat 23 Feb 13

mark.wilkinson says...

The amount of tax we all pay our roads should be like billiard tables.
The amount of tax we all pay our roads should be like billiard tables. mark.wilkinson
  • Score: 1

11:12am Sat 23 Feb 13

loan_star says...

Have to question just how good the tarmac being used is. The A167 out of Darlington just past the White Horse, despite being relaid only a couple of year ago, is in a dreadful state. Yet other roads that havent been relaid as recent, are in much better condition.
Have to question just how good the tarmac being used is. The A167 out of Darlington just past the White Horse, despite being relaid only a couple of year ago, is in a dreadful state. Yet other roads that havent been relaid as recent, are in much better condition. loan_star
  • Score: 5

11:32am Sat 23 Feb 13

tommy2screws says...

I was led to believe that part of your road tax was put aside for maintenance of our roads. With the millions of cars on the road today there must be a canny pot of money some where. I want to know where that money is cause it certainly isn't being spent on the roads.
I was led to believe that part of your road tax was put aside for maintenance of our roads. With the millions of cars on the road today there must be a canny pot of money some where. I want to know where that money is cause it certainly isn't being spent on the roads. tommy2screws
  • Score: 2

1:45pm Sat 23 Feb 13

darlo oily says...

if north yorkshire need 220 mil for 5500 miles why do darlo need 45 mil for 356 miles

oh! I forgot north yorks is Tory and Darlo is labour.

In Darlo,one man to lay the road,3 to watch him and 10 in the town hall dealing with diversity issues and libelling the government
if north yorkshire need 220 mil for 5500 miles why do darlo need 45 mil for 356 miles oh! I forgot north yorks is Tory and Darlo is labour. In Darlo,one man to lay the road,3 to watch him and 10 in the town hall dealing with diversity issues and libelling the government darlo oily
  • Score: 5

4:03pm Sat 23 Feb 13

st-george1 says...

Another scandal at the heart of our democracy … of council-tax-paid people who use politically-motivate
d reasons for NOT doing things …
Councils in denial it seems, showing total disregard and failure to properly tackle the general state of our roads has been a disaster waiting to happen since at least 2007 and can be compared to the way the BBC dealt with the celebrity and career-paedophile Jimmy Savile scandal and their decision to TURN A BLIND EYE AND HOPE IT WOULD ALL GO-AWAY !
Another scandal at the heart of our democracy … of council-tax-paid people who use politically-motivate d reasons for NOT doing things … Councils in denial it seems, showing total disregard and failure to properly tackle the general state of our roads has been a disaster waiting to happen since at least 2007 and can be compared to the way the BBC dealt with the celebrity and career-paedophile Jimmy Savile scandal and their decision to TURN A BLIND EYE AND HOPE IT WOULD ALL GO-AWAY ! st-george1
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Sat 23 Feb 13

Spy Boy says...

bishop1 wrote:
only a matter of time until someone is killed or seriously injured due to the state of the roads as they are an absolute disgrace , no good having to look for pot holes instead of looking where you are going .
might sell my car & buy a tank , at least the pot holes won't break that .
A cyclist has already died after hitting a pothole. It was in The Echo yesterday. Sad news.

Councils need to get the right people to fill them as it's no good just dropping some tarmac into the hole and patting it flat-ish. It needs cleaning out, filling with the hot stuff and then levelled. Finally the whole lot needs to be heated up to bond it into a single mass. More expoensive, but it will last. The current method is just a waste of money and it's our money. Why the council allow this shoddy work is beyond me. Do they not send someone to check the work on completion ?
[quote][p][bold]bishop1[/bold] wrote: only a matter of time until someone is killed or seriously injured due to the state of the roads as they are an absolute disgrace , no good having to look for pot holes instead of looking where you are going . might sell my car & buy a tank , at least the pot holes won't break that .[/p][/quote]A cyclist has already died after hitting a pothole. It was in The Echo yesterday. Sad news. Councils need to get the right people to fill them as it's no good just dropping some tarmac into the hole and patting it flat-ish. It needs cleaning out, filling with the hot stuff and then levelled. Finally the whole lot needs to be heated up to bond it into a single mass. More expoensive, but it will last. The current method is just a waste of money and it's our money. Why the council allow this shoddy work is beyond me. Do they not send someone to check the work on completion ? Spy Boy
  • Score: 1

7:55pm Sat 23 Feb 13

mark.wilkinson says...

Spy Boy wrote:
bishop1 wrote:
only a matter of time until someone is killed or seriously injured due to the state of the roads as they are an absolute disgrace , no good having to look for pot holes instead of looking where you are going .
might sell my car & buy a tank , at least the pot holes won't break that .
A cyclist has already died after hitting a pothole. It was in The Echo yesterday. Sad news.

Councils need to get the right people to fill them as it's no good just dropping some tarmac into the hole and patting it flat-ish. It needs cleaning out, filling with the hot stuff and then levelled. Finally the whole lot needs to be heated up to bond it into a single mass. More expoensive, but it will last. The current method is just a waste of money and it's our money. Why the council allow this shoddy work is beyond me. Do they not send someone to check the work on completion ?
It's typical council work ethic where road repairs are concerned.

Bare minimum, too little too late, cheap and cheerful, that'll do. It'll be right.

Of course the exact opposite applies when it comes to things like council offices, vehicles, perks, etc. nothing could be good enough and the cost is irrelevant.

Remember, it's the easiest thing in the world to spend other people's money. Especially when there's never any recourse.
[quote][p][bold]Spy Boy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]bishop1[/bold] wrote: only a matter of time until someone is killed or seriously injured due to the state of the roads as they are an absolute disgrace , no good having to look for pot holes instead of looking where you are going . might sell my car & buy a tank , at least the pot holes won't break that .[/p][/quote]A cyclist has already died after hitting a pothole. It was in The Echo yesterday. Sad news. Councils need to get the right people to fill them as it's no good just dropping some tarmac into the hole and patting it flat-ish. It needs cleaning out, filling with the hot stuff and then levelled. Finally the whole lot needs to be heated up to bond it into a single mass. More expoensive, but it will last. The current method is just a waste of money and it's our money. Why the council allow this shoddy work is beyond me. Do they not send someone to check the work on completion ?[/p][/quote]It's typical council work ethic where road repairs are concerned. Bare minimum, too little too late, cheap and cheerful, that'll do. It'll be right. Of course the exact opposite applies when it comes to things like council offices, vehicles, perks, etc. nothing could be good enough and the cost is irrelevant. Remember, it's the easiest thing in the world to spend other people's money. Especially when there's never any recourse. mark.wilkinson
  • Score: -1

8:51pm Sat 23 Feb 13

Heretic says...

Being a cyclist in Darlington myself, I hope that poor cyclist's family sues the council responsible for a tidy sum. Inconsiderate drivers giving us no room often gives us no choice but to clatter through some of these awful potholes. A cycle's wheels aren't built to withstand too much of that, and I say any cyclist injured as a consequence of situations such as the one I just described, should put in a claim. That would certainly make them keep on top of the maintenance as it will be cheaper to repair the roads than pay legal costs and compensation to every claimant.
Being a cyclist in Darlington myself, I hope that poor cyclist's family sues the council responsible for a tidy sum. Inconsiderate drivers giving us no room often gives us no choice but to clatter through some of these awful potholes. A cycle's wheels aren't built to withstand too much of that, and I say any cyclist injured as a consequence of situations such as the one I just described, should put in a claim. That would certainly make them keep on top of the maintenance as it will be cheaper to repair the roads than pay legal costs and compensation to every claimant. Heretic
  • Score: 2

10:50pm Sat 23 Feb 13

spragger says...

Lay the benefit fiddlers in them.

- Now I have your attention
Why not use the unemployed with a little bit of tarmac and an instruction that they will have to go back until they get it right.
The taxpayer is already paying for them, whether they like it or not.

If the unemployed do not like the look of it take yourself off benefits & JSA
Lay the benefit fiddlers in them. - Now I have your attention Why not use the unemployed with a little bit of tarmac and an instruction that they will have to go back until they get it right. The taxpayer is already paying for them, whether they like it or not. If the unemployed do not like the look of it take yourself off benefits & JSA spragger
  • Score: 1

3:31pm Sun 24 Feb 13

miketually says...

"I was led to believe that part of your road tax was put aside for maintenance of our roads."

None of the tax you pay is hypothecated for a specific purpose. And you don't pay Road Tax.
"I was led to believe that part of your road tax was put aside for maintenance of our roads." None of the tax you pay is hypothecated for a specific purpose. And you don't pay Road Tax. miketually
  • Score: 4

3:46pm Sun 24 Feb 13

the-big-yin says...

spragger wrote:
Lay the benefit fiddlers in them.

- Now I have your attention
Why not use the unemployed with a little bit of tarmac and an instruction that they will have to go back until they get it right.
The taxpayer is already paying for them, whether they like it or not.

If the unemployed do not like the look of it take yourself off benefits & JSA
Why go and pick on the unemployed again?
It is the incompetence of the councils that have caused this growing problem.
How many times do they use a little bit of tarmac to fill these potholes?
The council needs to use the correct materials and the correct methods of sorting out the potholes.
D.c.c. should use private companies to do the work as it would then get done correctly. They seem to have their jobs for the boys life attitude when they send out their council workers to do jobs. THIS MEANS THEY DO NOT GIVE A TOSS ABOUT THE STANDARD OF WORK!!!!!
[quote][p][bold]spragger[/bold] wrote: Lay the benefit fiddlers in them. - Now I have your attention Why not use the unemployed with a little bit of tarmac and an instruction that they will have to go back until they get it right. The taxpayer is already paying for them, whether they like it or not. If the unemployed do not like the look of it take yourself off benefits & JSA[/p][/quote]Why go and pick on the unemployed again? It is the incompetence of the councils that have caused this growing problem. How many times do they use a little bit of tarmac to fill these potholes? The council needs to use the correct materials and the correct methods of sorting out the potholes. D.c.c. should use private companies to do the work as it would then get done correctly. They seem to have their jobs for the boys life attitude when they send out their council workers to do jobs. THIS MEANS THEY DO NOT GIVE A TOSS ABOUT THE STANDARD OF WORK!!!!! the-big-yin
  • Score: 0

5:09pm Sun 24 Feb 13

Spy Boy says...

Poor standards of work are not uncommen these days. The old saying was 'You get what you pay for.' I don't even think this applies anymore. As I said; do the council not employ someone to check that this work is being done dorrectly, or did he get made redundant ? As the cost os bourne by the ratepayers of this town, why don't we inspect the work and contact the council if it's not up to standard. Just a thought.

http://www.darlingto
n.gov.uk/Transport/H
ighways.htm

or contact David Lyonette.

http://www.darlingto
n.gov.uk/Democracy/e
lectedrepresentative
s/Wards/Councillors/
DavidLyonette.htm
Poor standards of work are not uncommen these days. The old saying was 'You get what you pay for.' I don't even think this applies anymore. As I said; do the council not employ someone to check that this work is being done dorrectly, or did he get made redundant ? As the cost os bourne by the ratepayers of this town, why don't we inspect the work and contact the council if it's not up to standard. Just a thought. http://www.darlingto n.gov.uk/Transport/H ighways.htm or contact David Lyonette. http://www.darlingto n.gov.uk/Democracy/e lectedrepresentative s/Wards/Councillors/ DavidLyonette.htm Spy Boy
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Sun 24 Feb 13

mark.wilkinson says...

Spy Boy wrote:
Poor standards of work are not uncommen these days. The old saying was 'You get what you pay for.' I don't even think this applies anymore. As I said; do the council not employ someone to check that this work is being done dorrectly, or did he get made redundant ? As the cost os bourne by the ratepayers of this town, why don't we inspect the work and contact the council if it's not up to standard. Just a thought.

http://www.darlingto

n.gov.uk/Transport/H

ighways.htm

or contact David Lyonette.

http://www.darlingto

n.gov.uk/Democracy/e

lectedrepresentative

s/Wards/Councillors/

DavidLyonette.htm
I don't even think the inspectors of work that's been done know what they're doing or care enough to give a monkeys about the standard of work.

It's a self-preservation society.

And they have no concept what-so-ever about efficiency.

Nobody should be surprised by the state of our roads and especially the lack of care and attention to detail when attempting repairs to them. They don't care because it's free money and the next boat load is due in any time soon.
[quote][p][bold]Spy Boy[/bold] wrote: Poor standards of work are not uncommen these days. The old saying was 'You get what you pay for.' I don't even think this applies anymore. As I said; do the council not employ someone to check that this work is being done dorrectly, or did he get made redundant ? As the cost os bourne by the ratepayers of this town, why don't we inspect the work and contact the council if it's not up to standard. Just a thought. http://www.darlingto n.gov.uk/Transport/H ighways.htm or contact David Lyonette. http://www.darlingto n.gov.uk/Democracy/e lectedrepresentative s/Wards/Councillors/ DavidLyonette.htm[/p][/quote]I don't even think the inspectors of work that's been done know what they're doing or care enough to give a monkeys about the standard of work. It's a self-preservation society. And they have no concept what-so-ever about efficiency. Nobody should be surprised by the state of our roads and especially the lack of care and attention to detail when attempting repairs to them. They don't care because it's free money and the next boat load is due in any time soon. mark.wilkinson
  • Score: 0

8:11pm Sun 24 Feb 13

peter laidler says...

Took the car in for a service last week and the garage owner told me he had repaired three cars the week before, all damaged caused by pot holes. I have used the DCC hotline and reported some of the worst in my area, then last week I witnessed two workmen unloading tar from a DCC lorry with one keeping an eye out for traffic while the other ran out from behind the vehicle and threw shovels full into said holes. What a farce. The irony of it all is that while the Government announce investment in new infrastructure the exisiting roads are crumbling arounds us
Took the car in for a service last week and the garage owner told me he had repaired three cars the week before, all damaged caused by pot holes. I have used the DCC hotline and reported some of the worst in my area, then last week I witnessed two workmen unloading tar from a DCC lorry with one keeping an eye out for traffic while the other ran out from behind the vehicle and threw shovels full into said holes. What a farce. The irony of it all is that while the Government announce investment in new infrastructure the exisiting roads are crumbling arounds us peter laidler
  • Score: 0

12:37pm Mon 25 Feb 13

loan_star says...

peter laidler wrote:
Took the car in for a service last week and the garage owner told me he had repaired three cars the week before, all damaged caused by pot holes. I have used the DCC hotline and reported some of the worst in my area, then last week I witnessed two workmen unloading tar from a DCC lorry with one keeping an eye out for traffic while the other ran out from behind the vehicle and threw shovels full into said holes. What a farce. The irony of it all is that while the Government announce investment in new infrastructure the exisiting roads are crumbling arounds us
If a gypo did that to an old ladies driveway they would have watchdog on to them!!
[quote][p][bold]peter laidler[/bold] wrote: Took the car in for a service last week and the garage owner told me he had repaired three cars the week before, all damaged caused by pot holes. I have used the DCC hotline and reported some of the worst in my area, then last week I witnessed two workmen unloading tar from a DCC lorry with one keeping an eye out for traffic while the other ran out from behind the vehicle and threw shovels full into said holes. What a farce. The irony of it all is that while the Government announce investment in new infrastructure the exisiting roads are crumbling arounds us[/p][/quote]If a gypo did that to an old ladies driveway they would have watchdog on to them!! loan_star
  • Score: 0

2:08am Tue 26 Feb 13

dee_m98 says...

My young child tripped on a pothole on a badly defected road whilst crossing over coming home from school 5 years ago, causing her to fall against the kerb edge with arms outstretched and snapped her arm in two places. She now has a metal screws in because her injuries were quite severe. She was a keen gymnast, but not any longer as this is now preventing her from doing any sport now. I was a tax payer and in work then but unfortunately due to cut backs I am now unemployed through no fault of my own.......Whether your a tax payer or not we are all human ....or so I thought, and it makes no difference what sex, race, religion anyone is - if the council waste money on unnecessary things that are not needed, and concentrate on the dangerous state the roads are in with potholes then these accidents wouldn't happen.
The pothole where my little girl fell had been there for over 2 years with grass rooting out of it......and they tell us they are inspected !!!
I THINK NOT......its on a main road through town which is also a bus route, and if it had been inspected as regular as they said, then surely due to the size of the hole it would of been repaired. They don't need anyone to phone up and explain there's a hole there to be filled if they were doing there jobs right in the first place then surely they would be filled in ????
Like I said earlier I am unemployed at the moment - If the council is short staffed and cant do the highway inspections properly once and for all - Then why don't you employ me and I can inspect your Highways for you and prioritize what needs to be done. I rest my case.
My young child tripped on a pothole on a badly defected road whilst crossing over coming home from school 5 years ago, causing her to fall against the kerb edge with arms outstretched and snapped her arm in two places. She now has a metal screws in because her injuries were quite severe. She was a keen gymnast, but not any longer as this is now preventing her from doing any sport now. I was a tax payer and in work then but unfortunately due to cut backs I am now unemployed through no fault of my own.......Whether your a tax payer or not we are all human ....or so I thought, and it makes no difference what sex, race, religion anyone is - if the council waste money on unnecessary things that are not needed, and concentrate on the dangerous state the roads are in with potholes then these accidents wouldn't happen. The pothole where my little girl fell had been there for over 2 years with grass rooting out of it......and they tell us they are inspected !!! I THINK NOT......its on a main road through town which is also a bus route, and if it had been inspected as regular as they said, then surely due to the size of the hole it would of been repaired. They don't need anyone to phone up and explain there's a hole there to be filled if they were doing there jobs right in the first place then surely they would be filled in ???? Like I said earlier I am unemployed at the moment - If the council is short staffed and cant do the highway inspections properly once and for all - Then why don't you employ me and I can inspect your Highways for you and prioritize what needs to be done. I rest my case. dee_m98
  • Score: 1

10:18am Tue 26 Feb 13

Adam Walker says...

The councils need all the money they can get so that they can pay for travel to London etc. for the likes of the parasitic Liebour council leader Ian Harrington in Spennymoor. Its so much easier spending £15,000 per year on first class travel when it is not your own. Ask Ms Helen Goodperson MP, she too is an expert at ripping us off and spending our money. £400 per month on food and thousands on curtains and cushions to name but a few of her perks.
The councils need all the money they can get so that they can pay for travel to London etc. for the likes of the parasitic Liebour council leader Ian Harrington in Spennymoor. Its so much easier spending £15,000 per year on first class travel when it is not your own. Ask Ms Helen Goodperson MP, she too is an expert at ripping us off and spending our money. £400 per month on food and thousands on curtains and cushions to name but a few of her perks. Adam Walker
  • Score: -1

10:53am Tue 26 Feb 13

mark.wilkinson says...

I'm never suprised at the amount of disdain and anger aimed at this and other councils. What really suprises me though is that nothing is ever done about it. It's as though they are a law unto themselves, like the untouchables. It's pretty sickening to see the amount of waste and inefficiency in this and other councils and yet here we are again, year after year with the same complaints and observations made by the public.
I doubt there would be the need for any austerity measures at all if the public sector were forced to right their ways and actually gave a toss about their chosen professions, Instead of hiding behind the system and clocking on with their 'jobs for the boys' 'one man one job' and 'bare minimum' attitudes.
This, for me epitomises Broken Britain.
I'm never suprised at the amount of disdain and anger aimed at this and other councils. What really suprises me though is that nothing is ever done about it. It's as though they are a law unto themselves, like the untouchables. It's pretty sickening to see the amount of waste and inefficiency in this and other councils and yet here we are again, year after year with the same complaints and observations made by the public. I doubt there would be the need for any austerity measures at all if the public sector were forced to right their ways and actually gave a toss about their chosen professions, Instead of hiding behind the system and clocking on with their 'jobs for the boys' 'one man one job' and 'bare minimum' attitudes. This, for me epitomises Broken Britain. mark.wilkinson
  • Score: 0

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