I am angry. I have just returned from the tyre depot, where the appalling state of the roads in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has hit me hard in the wallet. £150 hard to be precise.
A tyre with plenty of life left in it has been written off due to an “impact on the tread”, in other words one of the thousands of craters that blight our roads.
My only regret? That I cannot prove which council (Aberdeen or Aberdeenshire) was responsible for the road maintenance where the damage was done, so that I could claim against them!
As any tyre depot or garage will tell you that the number of replacement tyres and suspension parts is running at record levels. No wonder, given the state of the roads.
Our councils try to tell us, alternately, that the cratered state of our roads is due to (a) the bad winter in 2009/10 or (b) utility companies. .
The truth is simpler than that. That the state of our roads is due to years of neglect and lack of maintenance.
Writing in The Press and Journal in June 2005, David Telfer reported that an “estimated £250 million will have to be spent to catch up on repairs on the north-east’s 3,750 miles of roads”.
Five years later I have seen little sign of any catch up in maintenance. Have you?
Apart from the cost to families for the damage to our cars, there must be enormous concerns about safety. While the potholes are the visible signs of neglect, the polished road surfaces have deteriorated to the point where they offer much reduced grip for car tyres. It is worrying, but highly likely, that some of the accidents on rural roads in the North East is down to this lack of maintenance.
As road users we continue to pour £36 billion a year into the Exchequer. Yet, our councils claim they have no money for road maintenance.
We should all be asking our MPs where the £36 billion has gone and why at least a proportion of the vast pot of road tax money is not made urgently available to our councils to fix our broken roads.