“I think I’ve been successful ‘cause I’m their worst nightmare, ‘cause I know what I’m talking about and I won’t go away,” says Mark Morrell, known as “Mr Pothole”.
This new documentary for ITV delves into the world of potholes on Britain’s pockmarked roads, which cause rage and roadworks – and are responsible for hundreds of injuries every year.
With the road network stretched by increasing traffic levels and councils hitting financial breaking point, this programme depicts how local authorities’ pothole gangs work round the clock to fill in the cratered asphalt, and how “pothole vigilantes” have taken matters into their own hands.
Despite the Government promising £420m to help councils tackle the problem, critics claim decades of underfunding and the pressure of 30 million vehicles has inflicted a patchwork of battle scars on the streets, exacerbated by extreme weather in recent years. David Giles, from the Asphalt Industry Alliance, says: “Even if the money was available, it would take 14 years to bring the local authority road network in England back to its own target condition.”
Meanwhile, staff at the faculty of engineering at the University of Leeds are working on a method that could spell the end of the pothole gang as we know it. Professor Rob Richardson says: “In ten years, we can have drones that are actually deployed in a few cities and be repairing the roads.
“This method is better because we can do it without disruption – small, quick, get it done fast and get it fixed.”
Pothole Wars, ITV, Tuesday, 9pm