Dozens stranded in dark on Glenshane Pass after pothole blows tyres

The 'giant' pothole on the Glenshane Pass
The 'giant' pothole on the Glenshane Pass

Road bosses have come under fire over potholes on the Glenshane pass that have blown tyres on dozens of cars, leaving motorists stranded in the dark.

Donna Kennedy said she was on her way home from Londonderry to Maghera when her wheel hit a pothole, wrecking the tyre, at around 6.30pm on Friday.

But she was not alone.

After pulling in to inspect the damage, the mother-of-two said she was joined on the freezing roadside by around 11 other motorists whose tyres had also burst.

While some were able to change their wheels, others, like her, had to wait for roadside assistance.

And when she passed the same spot later that night, five more drivers had also suffered the same fate.

“I was going at the normal speed and the tyre just completely ripped,” Donna explained. “There were 11 cars on that dark stretch, getting their tyres fixed. It was terrible.

“This is very dangerous, you’re not just talking about people’s tyres – an accident could clearly happen.

“There were people alongside the road fixing their vehicles in the dark.

“The next day I went down to check again, the potholes were not fixed, not covered. Nothing,” she added.

“I rang again and it was the same fella on and I said ‘where is our road tax money going to? This has been here for over a fortnight and nobody has got it fixed’.”

A spokesperson for Lennox Auto Services said the vehicle recovery company was called out eight times to assist drivers whose cars had been damaged by the potholes.

“There was a lot of people who had hit that pothole,” he said. “We rescued seven or eight cars [but many more] had a spare wheel that they would have changed themselves. I can’t understand why they didn’t fill it in.”

Mrs Kennedy said she was told by TransportNI they had known about the pothole for two weeks.

A spokesperson for TransportNI said they had booked the repair of the pothole in for Sunday, but that it had got worse on Friday.

“The pothole was identified during a routine highway inspection earlier last week,” said a statement.

“Due to the necessary signing and traffic management measures required the repair of the road was arranged for the following Sunday.

“However, the extent of the pothole deteriorated rapidly last Friday evening and a number of complaints were received through our out of hours telephone answering system.

“The pothole was signed off on Friday night to warn motorists and a temporary repair carried out the following afternoon. The permanent repair was carried out on the Sunday as planned.”