Potholes fund is not enough to tackle damaged roads around St Albans district

St Albans' many potholes

St Albans' many potholes - Credit: Matt Adams/Archant

There has been more road rage in St Albans – over the district’s crumbling and pothole-pocked streets which are posing a constant danger to motorists.

Herts county council has welcomed a grant of £943,000 from the Department of Transport’s pothole action fund, announced in the Government’s budget last month, “which forecasts the money could repair almost 18,000 potholes in the county”.

But that assertion has been blasted as ‘pathetic’ by county councillor for St Albans South, Sandy Walkington.

He said: “When they say that this money will pay for 18,000 potholes to be filled, residents in St Albans South will roll their eyes.

“Walk along Mayne Avenue, Robert Avenue, Holyrood Crescent and Mount Pleasant – all of which are major local distributor roads - and they have hundreds of potholes between them.

“And if ‘filling’ means the standard tapping in of cold tar which washes out at the first rain, it will be worse than useless.

“What is needed is a fundamental rethink about how we repair and then maintain our local highways. This is just sticking plaster.”

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Cllr Walkington added: “I have been inundated with complaints. Mayne Avenue [near Verulam Estate] is due for resurfacing in June, but I have spoken to the head of highways, to say it is simply not safe to last till then. After dark, if someone was on a bike, there is a risk to their safety. People are telling me they are driving the long way around.”

Local drivers have told the Herts Advertiser they are “utterly fed up” with constantly running the gauntlet of potholes to and from work, schools and the city centre.

One man said he had been forced to take a different route to work as parts of Drakes Drive were practically unusable and he was concerned he would be hit with more repair bills.

Sections of Drakes Drive have continuous potholes, many of which are deep, right along the centre of the busy thoroughfare.

When vehicles are parked on the side of the road, it is difficult to avoid driving into the potholes while trying to manoeuvre around them.

A woman told this paper that she was annoyed about having to continually report the holes and claim for damaged tyres, tracking and suspension.

Herts county councillor’s deputy director of environment, Cllr Rob Smith, said that the county’s 3,000 miles of roads were “among the busiest in the country, with over five billion miles travelled every year and this inevitably results in potholes and defects.

“This year we have spent more than £30 million on road maintenance and repairs.”

While the government grant was ‘welcome’, Cllr Smith said that it would have been “helpful if traffic levels had been taken into account in allocating the funding.

“We will now look at how we could most effectively use this money to improve the condition of our roads.”