‘Fix the potholes or better still, resurface the neglected roads,’ is the view of hundreds of Banburyshire motorists who responded to a plea for reports of potholes.
Within 24 hours of the request going on the Banbury Guardian Facebook page, 350 frustrated drivers earmarked potholes and cases of vehicle damage ranging from punctures to broken springs and damaged alloy wheels.
One woman complained: “I’m still recovering – 12 weeks later on crutches – from a moped accident on the Ruscote Avenue roundabout because of a pothole.”
Barely a single road in Banbury was not reported as having potholes and serious road surface issues.
One woman renamed Banbury ‘Potholebury’. Another reported two punctures and bucked wheel on Wykham Lane – a route that came in for much criticism.
“Apparently, as the road was checked two weeks earlier, I had no grounds for compensation,” she said.
Descriptions for large potholes included ‘crater’, ‘sink-hole’, ‘a lake’ and ‘so big it was tidal’. Two pedestrians complained of being soaked when cars passed through potholes where rain disguised their depth.
Complaints and comments came from all around north Oxfordshire and south Northants.
The villages and country lanes are also a cause of great concern.
An Epwell resident said: “I am sad to report that the village of Epwell has now disappeared into the void created by the coalescing of all the surrounding potholes.”
One commentator reported a horse being put down on the roadside near Woodford Halse after the trailer in which it was travelling dropped into a pothole, causing it to detach from the towing vehicle and leave the road causing fatal injuries as the horse was thrown out.
And a woman said her husband had spent hundreds of pounds on repairs because of potholes in Sibford Gower.
Another driver said she would have crashed head on, had a vehicle come in the opposite direction when her car was thrown across the road after it hit a deep pothole on Tadmarton Heath road.
Malcolm Moodie of Tadmarton said: “The B4035 has been patched more times than I can count and is in a terrible and unsafe condition. Cars drive in the middle of the road, often swerving when encountering vehicles.
“The number of large pot holes makes journies a test of concentration as many of these holes would damage wheels/suspension and represent a serious hazard to motor bikes and cyclists.
“At night time or in poor weather conditions the roads are getting to the stage where it is dangerous to travel.
“I appreciate the county council is under the cosh regarding funding but it won’t be long before any journey on Oxfordshire roads will be a danger to life and limb.”
Oxfordshire Highways press spokesman Martin Crabtree said there are eight teams who work across the county fixing defects on a reactive basis and the budget for this is around £1.6m.
“This winter so far has so far been cooler than previous years but at this stage it is not possible to say how the rest of the winter will progress,” he said.
“However nothing has altered as far as fixing road defects is concerned.
“We carry out inspections and also receive reports from the public via Fix My Street and these help us to identify where repairs are needed and how they should be prioritised.
“Readers can help by reporting things like potholes direct to us via fixmystreet.oxfordshire.gov.uk
“Defects that are found to meet our criteria are fixed as normal.
“In the longer term the information we gather on defects and the condition of the roads helps us to prioritise our resources for resurfacing and other maintenance work.”