Clas­sic wheels be­ing ‘writ­ten off’ due to poor state of Bri­tain’s roads

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK - Tom Sey­mour

The UK’s bat­tered roads have a back­log of pot­holes and dam­age that will take 14-years to clear – and con­tinue to cost clas­sic car own­ers a for­tune in re­pair bills.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (LGA), which rep­re­sents more than 370 au­thor­i­ties in England and Wales, es­ti­mates the fig­ures based on the num­ber of recorded pot­holes. Coun­cils fix al­most two mil­lion pot­holes a year – an av­er­age of 12,000 pot­holes for each lo­cal author­ity in the two coun­tries.

The LGA has ap­pealed to the Trea­sury ahead of the Au­tumn State­ment on 23 No­vem­ber to use 2p a litre from ex­ist­ing monies taken through fuel duty to fix the prob­lem. The LGA says this would in­ject an ex­tra £1 bil­lion for road re­pairs. It’s es­ti­mated that the to­tal cost to bring roads up to scratch would be £12bn.

Pot­hole dam­age can be a costly headache for clas­sic car own­ers, and re­pair spe­cial­ists say the prob­lem is get­ting worse. Bed­ford­shire-based spe­cial­ist Pris­tine Al­loy Wheel Re­fur­bisher says po­ten­tial av­er­age re­pair costs range from £60 to more than £1000 for to­tal wheel re­place­ments.

There is also the po­ten­tial for costly dam­age to axle and sus­pen­sion com­po­nents, par­tic­u­larly on older cars that might not be able to cope with as much shock as newer ones.

Dan Kiff, Pris­tine Al­loy Wheels’ man­ager, says dam­age can vary in scale due to speed and the sever­ity of the pot­hole, caus­ing kinks and bumps or even a twisted wheel.

He says: ‘Dam­age from pot­holes on our roads has got so bad that we have seen a marked in­crease in the amount of wheels that have been writ­ten off over the last 18 months.’

Pot­holes are caused when mois­ture gets into the cracks in the road which ex­pands when it freezes. The holes get big­ger as ve­hi­cles drive over them dam­ag­ing the struc­ture of the road be­low its sur­face layer.

Ad­verse weather con­di­tions and re­peated freeze-thaw and wet-dry cy­cles can in­crease the amount of pot­holes on the roads. This is why it is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant to keep an eye out dur­ing the win­ter months.

Coun­cil­lor Martin Tett, the LGA’s trans­port spokesman, says: ‘It is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ur­gent to ad­dress the roads cri­sis we face as a na­tion.

‘Our roads are de­te­ri­o­rat­ing fast and it would take al­most £12 bil­lion, and it could be nearly 2030, be­fore we could bring them up to scratch and clear the cur­rent roads re­pair back­log.’

At least this pot­hole comes with a warn­ing – al­beit a late warn­ing.

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