• Ayrshire Daily News

Furious instructors say dangerous potholes are driving them up the wall

Driving instructors in Ayrshire are calling for council road bosses to repair dangerous roads. Due to a prolonged pattern of freeze and thaw, roads all over the county are covered with dangerous potholes and crumbling edges.

Fractures in the road surface are not only causing a bumpy ride for learner drivers, but they pose a real risk to safety and could well cause a fatal accident if the problem isn't properly addressed soon.


Driving instructor Natalie Pankiw told us, “As a driving instructor on the roads every day, I've noticed a rapid deterioration in the standard of our roads. Potholes are developing extremely quickly after the spell of wet and icy weather we've just had.”


Along with other concerned instructors, Natalie is active in the Facebook group, ‘Fix Our Roads Ayrshire’.


She continues, “Some of the holes are so deep that we can’t see the bottom. These types of holes are really dangerous. Hitting a hole like that, at speed, could be lethal, especially in the dark.”


Apart from serious concerns about road safety, local drivers in general have incurred a large number of costly repairs to their vehicles. Buckled wheels, ripped suspensions and burst tyres have all been reported, and pictures are shocking.


Natalie is frustrated that they can’t teach their pupils properly – instead of ensuring a focus on safe driving and other road users, they’re simply helping them avoid dangerous potholes. She’s furious that the issue isn’t being taken seriously, and feels any repairs, which have been done, are substandard.


“One of the worst examples recently was near Loans, travelling towards Troon. This stretch of road was patched up twice this month and quickly became worse than before. South Ayrshire Council has been painting lines and putting up poles, preparing for calming traffic measures, while leaving the approach road in a desperate state. “


However, it’s not just South Ayrshire’s roads that are causing such concern. In the areas covered by North and East Ayrshire, the roads are in a particularly dire state.


‘Fix Our Roads Ayrshire’ recently launched a petition, promoted by West FM on Thursday, which has now gathered almost 3000 signatures. With cold weather forecast, the group continues to highlight the shocking standard of repairs and vows to keep pushing for an appropriate response. Sign the petition by clicking here.


Ayrshire Roads Alliance responded:

"The winter months are a challenging time for roads authorities across the UK as our roads suffer the effects of snow, ice and heavy rain. And this year is no exception as the number of reported potholes reaches unprecedented levels. (Yes, contrary to recent media reports, we’re not denying this – we also drive these roads.)


"Only a few weeks ago, when much of the country was under a blanket of snow and ice, Ayrshire Roads Alliance worked round the clock to keep our main roads clear. 


"The Alliance runs a 24-hour standby service during the winter months.


"A direct consequence of last month’s severe weather has been the significant deterioration of the quality of our road surfaces.


"As temperatures start to rise the Alliance shifts its attention from winter maintenance to road repairs - ever mindful that repairs cannot be carried out when the road surface temperature is below zero degrees or during periods of snow and ice weather predictions. 


"However, we remain vigilant as we continue to receive severe weather alerts on a daily basis and these will affect how and where we allocate resources.  


"Pothole complaints for January 2018 were up by 15% from 2017 and we carried out 2711 safety inspections in January alone.


"Complaints received by social media take longer to process as the information is often incomplete. The quickest way to log your complaint is to use the website to report a pothole or contact the out of hours numbers for urgent repairs. 


"In some cases, where the damage in an area is significant, it may be more appropriate to screed a whole section of road rather than just a single pothole.


"Over the past week, we have repaired numerous potholes and lengths of road at various locations throughout the network using approximately 120 tonnes of bituminous material.


"Whether gritting roads or repairing potholes, the Alliance must comply with drivers’ hours directives - to protect the workforce and the travelling public.


"This year, the Alliance secured additional support from contractors to help meet the demand, both for road maintenance and repairs - to ensure the service continued round the clock in times of need."


How does ARA handle your pothole complaints?


"We have highly trained inspectors who respond to the pothole reports made by local residents and they monitor the road network daily.


"We operate a four-tier reporting system for potholes which determines how quickly we carry out the repairs. Our inspectors will visit the location and assign the pothole a category - based on the size, depth and location of the pothole.


"A category one pothole is considered a threat to life and limb and we will respond within a two-hour time-scale. A category two has a five working day response time while category three is 10 working days and category four is 28 working days.


"We continually monitor the condition of all potholes, to ensure that they don’t deteriorate further before being repaired. If a pothole deteriorates, it will be re-categorised and escalated for repair.


"In the near future changes will be made to the way our inspectors receive pothole reports. The team will be provided with mobile devices and when a report is made on the website the inspectors will receive notifications in real time.


"This will allow the team to work remotely and spend more time on the road, speeding up the inspection process."

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