Friday, November 17, 2006
Gone To Pot
Barry Tyler (above- no relation) is a persistent man. And to Hertfordshire County Council, no doubt, a right pain in the bum.
After he had driven into a pothole near his home and damaged his car, he demanded compensation from the Council. And following a protracted dispute, he won an out-of-court settlement of £400.
But unlike most people, he didn't stop there. "Intrigued" by how there could be such a large hole in a spot where a surveyor had supposedly checked the road the previous year and not even seen the hazard, he demanded more information. And armed with the maintenance work invoices he extracted, he somehow dragged out Herts Highways' assistant director of transport management to inspect some of it. According to Barry's account:
"I looked at maintenance work on potholes on the B1368 Anstey Road between July and August, which had cost taxpayers £1,917. I pointed out to Mr Smith that the work consisted of a blob of Tarmac dumped into the hole without any preparation and without any sealant to keep water out.
He said this was quite satisfactory as it was only a temporary repair to make the road safe. I think the whole job must have taken under three hours, but the charges for this work vary from £295 to £823 per hole!
If you don't finish this work off properly water will get into the Tarmac, causing damage, so work which should last for 10 years could need re-doing in 18 months. The whole situation is ridiculous - over 90 per cent of work invoiced is not checked."
Last year English and Welsh local authorities paid out around £70m compensation for accidents and vehicle damage caused by potholes and other poor road maintenance. And thanks to Mr Tyler's investigation we now know we're not even saving on the skimped maintenance. In effect, we're paying twice.
It's enough to... er... drive you potty.
Posted by Mike D at 9:02 pm