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Motorists get thousands in compensation as motorway potholes damage vehicles

Sandwell | News | Published:

More than 1,000 potholes have been repaired on motorways in the Midlands - forcing highways bosses to pay out thousands of pounds in compensation to motorists.

In total 106 compensation claims were made to Highways England over damaged vehicles across those junctions on the M6, M5 and M54 over the past 12 months.

But just 11 payouts were made totalling £3,428 after the claims were investigated.

Officials today said the 'sheer volume' of traffic causes potholes which forces emergency roadworks to be carried out.

They estimate 160,000 vehicles a day are using the M6 in the Black Country and Staffordshire alone.

It comes after motorists have faced a host of delays due to major roadworks schemes especially around the M6 in the Black Country over the last year.

The re-waterproofing repair work stretches to the M5 link at West Bromwich are due to be coming to end in December - with similar work re-starting in January down to junction six for Spaghetti Junction.

In total, 1,085 potholes were repaired on the M6 between J6 and J15 , M5 between J1 and J4 and M54 from the M6 link to J7 in 2014/15.

Potholes wider than six inches and deeper than 1.5 inches must be repaired within 24 hours once their are discovered.

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Highways England spokesman Alistair Harris said: "The sheer volume of traffic using the M6 means the road surface needs regular care and maintenance.

"With the weight of 160,000 vehicles a day creating pressure, friction and wear, potholes can occur.

"The surfacing we use is the best available material for the job – however, very few materials could withstand this weight of traffic without deterioration.

"As a result, regular resurfacing work is necessary to keep the road in a safe, smooth condition.

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"Our contractors regularly patrol the M6 and use a specialist mobile capturing system, which logs all road surface defects, including their precise location, and the time they were noticed.

"All potholes are categorised depending on their severity and location, and can either be 'safety critical' or 'non-safety critical'.

"Our contractors are instructed to respond to all safety critical reports within 24 hours, though in practice, it's often much faster than that.

"We thoroughly investigate all compensation claims to ensure they are genuine, to establish what happened and whether someone was at fault, and to decide the level of compensation necessary.

"Any payouts for damage are a result of this thorough process."

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