This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 31/07/2018.
Revealed: This is how much of your money is being spent fixing potholes in Croydon
Since the start of 2015, more than 18,000 potholes have been reported to Croydon Council.
Whether you’re a driver worried about the damage they might cause to your car, or a resident concerned about the state of your road, it’s fair to say potholes affect pretty much everybody.
And new figures obtained by the Advertiser show just how many of the eye-sores are blighting Croydon.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed that since the start of 2015, more than 18,000 potholes have been reported to Croydon Council.
The figures also reveal the amount of money spent on fixing potholes since then.
Although the council has refused to publish the exact cost of fixing potholes, due to “environmental regulations”, it has released statistics which show the sort of figure being spent.
In 2015 the cost of repairing potholes was between £160,000 and £230,000, while in 2016 the cost was between £140,000 and £210,000.
In 2017, the cost was between £110,000 and £180,000, while so far in 2018 the council has spent between £130,000 and £190,000.
The council added that in 2015 there were 5,084 potholes reported, in 2016 there were 5,586, in 2017 there were 3,693 and in 2018 there have been 3,791 to date.
Rima Armstrong, who lives in Selhurst, isn’t too surprised by the figures.
The 33-year-old said: “Given the size, area and population of Croydon and the amount of traffic and congestion, I don’t find it particularly surprising.
“The extreme weather we’ve had, snow and ice [last] winter, the flash flood a couple of months ago and now the heat and dry [weather]; that definitely plays a role in road maintenance.”
Potholes are caused by the expansion and contraction of ground water after the water has entered the ground under the pavement.
If this water freezes, the ground will expand, bend and crack, causing the surface to become weaker. As the weight of vehicles passes over weak points on the road, the ground is broken down, eventually creating a pothole.
Mark Hopper, who lives on Carshalton Road, in Sutton, regularly drives on Croydon’s roads due to family living in the borough.
The 55-year-old was “surprised” the council didn’t give more accurate figures on its expenditure.
He said: “I’d be interested to know how Croydon compares with neighbouring authorities but am not surprised that this year looks to be the highest level of recorded potholes in [recent] years.
“I’d also be interested to know how many holes need to be revisited due to temporary repairs only being done initially.”
But what more can be done to prevent potholes becoming a problem like they do?
“Earlier intervention and regular maintenance would help,” said Mr Hopper.
“I think most people know how and to whom to report potholes to but probably don’t bother as they feel little will be done.”
The council revealed in June that it was trialling a new piece of equipment to repair potholes in Croydon.
The new machine effectively microwaves the damaged road until it is soft enough to be reshaped to fill the pothole, speeding repair times by up to 40%, according to the council.
The council previously said the trial scheme saved almost £2,000 compared with the traditional pothole-filling process by treating more and shallower potholes in a single stretch of road and by halving the amount of money spent on new road materials.
The Advertiser has asked Croydon Council if it wishes to provide a comment on this story but has not yet received a reply.