New plans have been announced to help reduce the likelihood of our cars being damaged by pothole-riddled roads. No, nobody’s repairing said potholes – at least not any time soon. Instead, new speed limits are being imposed to help ensure we slow down over damaged stretches of road.
The National Highways Agency has begun installing temporary speed limit signs on stretches of dual carriageway that are particularly badly affected by potholes. Most notably, sections of the M11 motorway in Essex have had their 70mph limit reduced due to their state of disrepair. Sections of the A11 and A12 in Essex have also been slapped with temporary speed restrictions.
£420 million was invested in road repairs last year. The estimated backlog of repairs is currently estimated to be some £10.5 billion.
The measures have, unsurprisingly, prompted many to ask why the National Highways Agency doesn’t simply get to the root of the problem and repair the potholes, rather than paper over the cracks with reduced speed limits. However the chances of local councils repairing damaged roads to any meaningful degree remains low due to the high cost of road repairs.
Local authorities paid out £22.8 million in pothole compensation in 2012, according to Which – and that’s a fraction of the cost of fixing the damage to road surfaces in the first place. Reducing the speed limit will likely result in reduced rates of vehicle damage and a subsequent drop in the number of claims for compensation.
A drop in the number of compensation claims could result in an increase in available budget for repairs, however it remains to be seen whether this is what the National Highways Agency intends.
Unsurprisingly, the measures have proved controversial. “Reduced speed limits add to congestion and to the frustrating of the motoring public, who want to see the roads in a decent state of repair,” shadow transport secretary Jim Fitzpatrick, told the Mail Online
According to the Highways Agency, £420 million was invested in road repairs last year. The estimated backlog of repairs is currently estimated to be some £10.5 billion.
If you think your vehicle has been damaged by bumpy roads, then make sure you receive compensation. Follow our guide to claiming compensation for pothole damage.