Pothole perils of road diversion

Date: Tuesday 6th February 2018

Sir, I was hardly surprised to see that you carried a public notice (Herald, 27th January) about the closure for four weeks from 29th January of the C3066 Appleby to Hilton road.

Many of us in the area were informed by e-mail on 2nd January, so there can be little doubt that Cumbria County Council has been planning this for a while.

The official diversion involves the C3004 and C3065 between Appleby and Dufton, together with the C3066 between Dufton and Hilton.

I dare say some locals will prefer to drive across Appleby golf course and others to use the Hilton-Moor House road across the Warcop firing range. After what I witnessed this morning when asked to change a wheel by one of my neighbours, I can hardly blame them.

The severe buckling of the nearside front wheel of a Ford Fiesta driven by a mature and careful woman driver at no more than 30mph occurred when she hit a pothole while steering to avoid a traffic cone indicating the position of a second pothole.

The damage was done near Clickham Farm on the C3004/C3065 part of the diversion.When I checked the “Report a carriageway defect or hazard” page of Cumbria County Council’s website, I noticed that several potholes have been reported in that vicinity dating from as far back as 11th January.

I know this is the time of year when highly variable weather and temperatures can rapidly lead to new or worsening potholes but, regardless of what might get flagged up where and when, do county councils, when planning prolonged road closures, not check carefully the actual condition of their proposed diversions — and implement urgent remedial measures if necessary?

While I can imagine my neighbour and her husband smarting a bit if they have to foot the cost of replacing a complete wheel and tyre, I shudder to to think what might befall a cyclist, perhaps innocently putting on a spurt of speed if the road happens to be quiet.

The damage I have described occurred on the very first day of a four- week closure/diversion. Yours etc,

JIM HARDMAN

By e-mail