‘Pothole capital of the world’ was a phrase that Sheffielders regularly used not so long ago – often in jest and always in frustration.
Everyone understood what it meant and not a single person in the city wanted it to be that way.
The roads were so bad that if you left the city for any amount of time, you realised on your return just what a disaster we were putting up with. Other cities and towns had smooth surfaces, and ours just did not compare.
When I took my family to visit friends in a third world country, the children joked that the roads were almost as bad as Sheffield. I’m talking potholes so big you were worried the car would get stuck in them so while it might have been an exaggeration, it revealed what the younger generation thought as they rattled around in the backseat. But that changed when we had a cash injection beyond what we would usually hope for. I have been in meetings with editors across the country where they say potholes is one of the biggest annoyances for their readers. Not so in Sheffield, I would proudly say as I explained that we were once bottom of the list but now had decent roads again.
So the findings of David Walsh’s investigation comes with a heavy heart and a big dose of ‘I told you so’ from the many readers who have been in touch about the city’s roads contract.
They have told us that they didn’t believe enough surfacing was being used, I had spoken to retired road-layers who said they could see it wasn’t being done to a good enough standard and all the while there have been rumours of cost cutting.
When I mentioned this to very senior officers at the council a couple of years ago I was told that there would always be a few problems and The Star should focus on the overall improvements.
Well, when our business editor asked for readers’ opinions this week, the answers were overwhelmingly not what those in the Town Hall want to hear. But then, The Star’s job is to make your voice heard so please keep telling David the good or the bad from your local potholes. Only the council can hold Amey to account but you and I can arm them with the facts.