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Can the ‘velocity patcher’ machine cope? Cold weather predicted to create further pot-hole peril across Oldham

By Andrew Bardsley

Pot-holes on Oldham’s roads are likely get worse as the cold weather bites, experts are predicting – but council leaders remain hopeful the ‘velocity patcher’ can cope.

The machine was bought as part of a £2million investment aimed at fixing Oldham’s pot holes – yet more damage is predicted as temperatures plummet.

Potholes.co.uk – set up by the insurer Warranty Direct – allows motorists to report pot-holes, and several on Oldham’s roads have been flagged up already to them.

And as the Met Office issue a warning for snow for the North West, Paul Rayner, a spokesman for the website, said this will only make the problem worse.

He said: “This year has been relatively mild so far but we’ve still seen pot-holes in similar numbers to the harsh winters of 2009-10 and 2010-11. If we get cold weather as well, it could be even worse.

“If you hit a bad one they can puncture your tyre or knock out your tracking but they can cause thousands of pounds of damage – they sometimes destroy shock absorbers and of course they can cause you to crash into something else.”

A number of Oldham residents have taken to the website to voice their frustration at council inaction over the damage.

On January 10 a resident reported: “Several deep pot-holes in nearside tyre tracks travelling from Junction 22 M62 towards Denshaw.

“Council informed twice already and told they are leaving themselves open to litigation and manslaughter through negligence/inaction. No response from them.”

On January 7 another resident reported: “A large patchwork of approximately seven pot-holes. All approximately 0.6×0.6m and six inches deep on Sugar Lane, Dobcross heading towards Diggle.

“Defects constantly re-occurring, the repairs are substandard and not effective.”

On the same day another resident reported: “A very large and deep pot-hole on Dorset Avenue in Diggle. 0.5×0.5 and five inches deep. Serious defect especially with elderly residents living nearby.”

Oldham Council – who are responsible for maintaining 826 km of roads – have invested £2million into pot-hole repairs and have bought a new machine, the velocity patcher.

The council say this new piece of equipment will help to make repairs more effective and ensure subsequent repairs are not needed.

In a blog on the subject, Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon said: “At the moment we only have time and money to deal with the worst but if we keep investing, even in tough times, we can get onto a more even footing.

“We’re also looking at roads where early resurfacing is more cost-effective in the long run than constantly going back and forth filling in potholes.”

But Mr Rayner told MM that the council’s investment might not be enough to deal with the problem.

“£2million is a drop in the ocean of what’s needed to make our roads better,” he said.

“Too many councils have a quick fix “patch and mend” strategy but this is a false economy – we want to see councils investing in better road surfacing from the start so roads are less susceptible to potholes.”

And he issued some advice to motorists who are concerned about the damage pot-holes can do to their cars.

“You’ve got to be careful, take your time and watch out for them,” he said.

“You’ve also got to report any potholes you see – councils are under obligation to fix potholes once they’ve been reported so the more people who do this, the more quickly the ones you see will get fixed.”

Picture courtesy of Editor5807, with thanks.

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