Why are we having to drive round Huntingdonshire dodging potholes!

This pothole is at Duloe Road in St Neots.

This is the rather large pothole at the top of Duloe Road, in Eaton Ford, St Neots. - Credit: ARCHANT

On Sunday, I went out to do some food shopping and as I was driving around St Neots, for what amounted to a round trip of about five miles, I found myself playing 'dodge the pothole'.

They seem to be everywhere, and some of them are huge. My photograph shows the one at the top of Duloe Road, Eaton Ford, as you approach the Mill Hill roundabout, coming from Duloe. But there is a second one, further down on the other side of the road and much of Duloe Road seems to be crumbling.

I seem to remember this particular pot hole was repaired at some point in the recent past and then appeared again, and certainly some maintenance work took place at this spot in recent weeks when the road flooded. Did the maintenance work make the pothole worse?

Potholes are caused by wear and tear of the road surface, or subsidence when ground water gets underneath the surface and it expands and contracts and then weakens the surface.

If you hit one, as many of you will know, it can puncture your tyre or bend or crack your wheel, damage your tyre's sidewall or belts. Even a minor impact may knock your vehicle out of alignment or damage your suspension.

The Local Government Association reported in 2016 that it would take 14 years to clear the backlog of potholes, despite councils filling in almost two million per year.

In terms of claiming compensation, you can only claim if the authority was at fault. The law says potholes are inevitable, particularly in winter, so the key question is whether it could, or should, have been fixed before your car hit it and was damaged. It's complicated!

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If you want to report a pothole, you need to go to the Cambridgeshire County Council website where you can fill in a form on their interactive map.

Take a photograph as it allows you to upload one when you fill in the form. I have reported the large one at Duloe Road, along with lots of other people, and received an email the following day to say, the council are aware of it and it will be repaired some time in the next three months!

There is also some really useful information on the Money Saving Expert website about how to make a claim if your car has been damaged.

I am not sure what can be done about this growing menace on our roads, or why the poor motorist has to jump through hoops to claim the cost of the damage for something that clearly was not his or her fault. 

Let me know what you think or if you have had any recent experiences. We are going to collate the information and build up a picture of the scale of the problem.

Email: debbie.davies@archant.co.uk.