Driver’s compensation denied for Cookstown pothole that cost him hundreds

This pothole on the Kilcronagh Road would have been fixed within a week had it been on a busier road
This pothole on the Kilcronagh Road would have been fixed within a week had it been on a busier road

A Cookstown worker who says he suffered pothole damage to his car costing hundreds has hit out the Stormont department that turned down his case for compensation.

The Mail reported in January how a large pothole was reported as having damaged a number of vehicles on Kilcronagh Road outside Cookstown after speaking to Stephen Willis, whose son Jamie’s car was damaged.

At the time, Department for Infrastructure (DfI) said it would be repaired within three weeks.

They were first made aware of the pothole on January 5 and it was fixed on January 18.

After that article a second man contacted the Mail, saying his car was badly damaged on January 11. Angry that his claim for compensation has been turned down, he has questioned the speed at which it was filled in.

“They said the road was checked in October,” he said.

“October to January is a hell of a long time. They say it’s a six month cycle, which to be honest with you is quite ridiculous. The damage in itself was substantial.”

In a letter to the department John Crossan said he told them he had been driving for 40 years and had claimed for nothing. But DfI argued that the pothole was fixed in compliance with its own safety standards.

The department’s own records state this pothole was 90mm deep, 900mm long and 600mm wide - which if it had been on a busier road, would have been fixed within a week.

Potholes are recorded in four categories, the worst of which (R1:100mm+ are fixed within a day. The least severe (R4: under 20mm) can take a year to fill in.

But the number of cars using a road, and whether the hole is in a rural or urban area is also considered.

DfI said as less than 500 cars are estimated to travel Kilcronagh road each day - its own rules put it in category R3 - which means they have a month to fix it.

If it had been on a busier road, they would have had a week, but they also said “no formal traffic count has been carried out on Kilcronagh Road”.