Opposition tells the government to get serious about fixing potholes

Lottie Twyford 10 January 2022 122
Pothole

The Opposition is calling on the government to fix the Territory’s growing number of potholes. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Canberrans are frustrated with the state of the roads around town and the proliferation of potholes after months of wet weather, exacerbated over the holiday period by more rain and storms, the Opposition says.

According to Shadow Minister for City Services Nicole Lawder, cars are almost disappearing into large, dangerous holes on the roads, and it’s high time the government did something about it.

She’s heard from several constituents who have had to fork out for car and tyre repairs arising from close encounters with potholes.

“For example, Sulwood Drive alongside Mount Taylor is in an appalling condition. Some potholes have been recently filled, and with more rain, are already crumbling again,” Ms Lawder explained.

“In one case a ‘hazard ahead’ sign has been put into place where a hole is so large that you can hear the noise of cars scraping into and out of it, or else cars must veer onto the other side of the road to avoid the hazard.”

Yet this isn’t the only road of concern, Ms Lawder said.

“There are examples like this all across Canberra.”


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Potholes open up as water seeps into cracks and erodes the base layer of the pavement.

Canberra Toyota Belconnen service manager Scott Attwell explained that the damage caused to tyres from potholes could range from an easy-to-fix replacement tyre to something more severe and costly.

“If you hit a pothole, it can cause damage to tyres. It can also break the cords in the sidewalls and bend the wheels if you hit the rims,” Mr Attwell explained.

But more extensive damage can be recorded if you hit a “big-enough pothole,” he noted.

“It can cause suspension damage and throw your wheel alignment out.”

It’s difficult to put a price tag on how much repairs for these kinds of accidents cost, Mr Attwell explained, “but it can start to add up pretty quickly if it’s a rim or anything more than that”.


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The government has previously acknowledged the difficulty wet weather poses to repairing roads.

According to the most recent data available, pothole repairs almost tripled from 2719 in the drier 2019-20 financial year to 6375 in 2020-21.

In total, 11,760 square metres of hot asphalt patching works were also completed in the year, an increase of 134 per cent in pothole repairs and a 391 per cent increase in patching works on the previous financial year.

In June 2021 alone, more than 500 potholes were fixed.

In the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years, the ACT Government received 61 claims from drivers for damage to their vehicles from potholes and it paid out $37,320.

However, some people whose vehicles have been damaged by potholes have said that making a claim is itself a challenge.

Potholes can be reported to the ACT Government via the Fix My Street portal. In the last financial year, 3297 reports of pothole-related enquiries were submitted, making it the third-most reported-on issue.


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122 Responses to Opposition tells the government to get serious about fixing potholes
Brian Tate Brian Tate 5:12 pm 16 Jan 22

Potholes in Canberra? Never!

Mike of Canberra Mike of Canberra 1:12 pm 14 Jan 22

Be it the state of the roads, our shabby, overgrown public green areas, pothole ridden roads or our deficient public housing estate, what this all boils down to is that the current ACT Government simply doesn’t know how to manage it financial resources. They have introduced a land tax on top of normal annual rates as a means of securing their revenue base while phasing out stamp duty. Fair enough – this is a good reform. But then, we still find that they can’t afford to keep our urban areas clean, repair our roads or provide enough public housing to meet demand. And the public transport system is deficient to say the least.

The reasons for this are simple to find. First, there’s the tram to nowhere, an ongoing drain on public finances built on outmoded design that prevents route flexibility and is the reason we now have a much lower quality bus service than we once did. Then there’s the stubborn insistence on building ghettos on some of the most expensive land in the Territory, all the while ignoring the potential for this land, if sold, to fund higher quality, properly “salt and peppered” public housing in less expensive areas. But no, they insist on holding very expensive land and incurring the ongoing costs that go with this, all in the name of an attempt at egalitarianism that defeats its own purpose.

All of this points to a government past its use-by date and displaying the lethargy and hubris you would expect in such a situation. But the answer is in not only our hands but also those of our perpetual opposition party, one that seems a little too cosy with the trappings of opposition. We need change and it’s up to them to offer that to us.

Garry Inglebert Humperdink Galli Garry Inglebert Humperdink Galli 9:19 am 14 Jan 22

All the money has gone into renewable energy, the compromise is........ quality of life . Learn to live with it , it's the future.

Sam Mudge Sam Mudge 7:16 am 14 Jan 22

This is what happens when you don’t have a competitive opposition.

Nat Rowe Nat Rowe 6:51 am 14 Jan 22

I’m disappointed with the current government as so many potholes are not properly fixed, whoever does it is incompetent. It’s a 5min fix and months later, the hole is back again, an example a pothole at James Smith Crt in Conder, how many times it was done it’s very annoying. Not only portholes, the grass as well growing vigorously everywhere as if we are living in a paddock. Come on ACT government we are religiously paying our taxes. It is not safe for us walking around.

Tania Collyer Tania Collyer 1:33 am 14 Jan 22

Of course the opposition says they. They're not going to do anything about it either if elected

Glen Fiddich Glen Fiddich 11:00 pm 13 Jan 22

How about lazy Zed and all his counterparts get together and mend the holes as they do nothing to earn their money as they live off the public purse.

Mick Guy Mick Guy 9:35 pm 13 Jan 22

Oh come on people. The government are using bandaids to fix the potholes. They are top quality bandaids not the ones from the Reject Shop!!

Robin Eckermann Robin Eckermann 8:29 pm 13 Jan 22

A belated Christmas carol (to the tune of “O Holy Night”) …

O holey road

The Governments blown its budget

Its all been spent on trams and rainbow roundabouts!

Long has the town with rates ever rising

Looked for an ounce of financial management

No hope for change – the city’s public servants

Can’t see that debt us will eventually sink!

Watch for pot holes

And snakes in long grass

Canberrans beware

This government has lost control

This government

Has lost control.

James Roper James Roper 5:36 pm 13 Jan 22

For the most part Canberra's roads are great, far better than the roads in any other state (I've been driving around NSW for the past few days and omg, we have it so good in Canberra). Then we have this unprecedented rain (I mean look, I drove past Lake George the other day and it was full! That hasn't happened in over 30 years!) and of course the roads are suffering because of it. The ACT government can't control the weather. They are fixing the potholes, but it takes time. People need to stop biting the hand that feeds them. I bet if the ACT government replaced all the roads with concrete roads so there would never be potholes, people would complain that the roads were too loud. Nothing will ever be good enough for some people.

Brian Kilgannon Brian Kilgannon 4:12 pm 13 Jan 22

The Canberran government is a huge embarrassment. They just cant get anything right. Totally incompetent. There are better run shire councils in Australia than what we have here.

Jose Blow Jose Blow 11:43 am 13 Jan 22

If you actually seen how the privatised companies actually repair the roads you would understand why they keep coming back

After all it means more money for them to keep doing the same hole over and over again

Jessica Hogan Jessica Hogan 11:35 am 13 Jan 22

Belinda Read and the boulder we ran over 😂

Charles Godworth Charles Godworth 11:23 am 13 Jan 22

The roads are terrible. Even worse they use the cheapest chip seal to re-surface roads that blow away in the first strong wind. I guess that happens as a result of having no money in the coffers

Lyn Primrose Lyn Primrose 11:16 am 13 Jan 22

Can be Canberra's feature the Pothole city.

Mark Walker Mark Walker 7:26 am 13 Jan 22

Yeah, I've never found any pot in one 🤣

Craig Dinneen Craig Dinneen 10:02 pm 12 Jan 22

fix it!!

Craig Dinneen Craig Dinneen 10:01 pm 12 Jan 22

tipical labour

Craig Dinneen Craig Dinneen 10:01 pm 12 Jan 22

tipical liberals

Terry Gray Terry Gray 8:29 pm 12 Jan 22

Go get them girl, you tell em!

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