No Ducking These Potholes

P1020283There are few things that cause more driver fury than neglected potholes. And with potholes such a big problem across the UK, some communities have turned to more humorous solutions on social media to vent their frustrations, draw attention to potholes, and, in turn, shout out to their councils.

In Nottingham one driver posted a photo of a birthday cake next to a two-year-old pothole, to which someone responded: ‘There isn’t enough birthday cake for all the potholes in Manchester.’ Another driver propped toy dinosaurs in a pothole and chalked ‘Jurassic’.

Some green-fingered communities have even planted up their potholes with flowers.

IKO, a multinational manufacturer of building materials, including Permatrack, which can be used for road repairs, launched their #NoMorePotholes campaign in February 2016.

The humorous element of the campaign, in which ducks are photographed inside potholes was launched in February 2017. IKO have distributed their branded rubber ducks for people to highlight what is actually a serious problem.

Rachel Browne from MRA Marketing said: ‘We’ve seen a massive response to the ducks with the campaign going viral on Twitter…Many councillors and MPs are using the ducks as part of their election campaigning. We’ve seen pothole repairs taking place across the country as a direct result of people putting pressure on their local councils to fix the holes – the ducks have proved to be a fabulous way of highlighting the seriousness of the pothole situation.’

In practice, the public can contact county Highways online via their Street Doctor service to report potholes or other highway problems. The county says that for a serious pothole they will respond within five working days. Less serious defects could take two to four months.

However, county councillor Heather Smith said that rural counties are not being funded fairly, with more money from central government being directed to urban boroughs, rather than rural districts despite rural districts being bigger. Despite the sums being spent by the county, it’s not enough.

Northamptonshire Highways says that during 2016 to 2017 they spent a total of £2,678,941 dealing with potholes. Northamptonshire Highways used a process called the RoadMaster Carriageway Repair process, with an average cost to repair each pothole of £40.97. They reported that 19,026 potholes were repaired throughout the county using the RoadMaster system.

Clearly there are still a lot of potholes that need fixing, particularly in Oundle. But a sense of humour to draw attention to the problem might offer some light relief.

By Freddie Smith
May 2017