Fixing Roads in England & Wales will Cost £11.8bn
Fixing roads in England and Wales will cost £11.8 billion and take 14 years, according to a new report. The Asphalt Industry Alliance survey of local authorities said the time it would take to bring roads to a “reasonable condition” has risen by a year in the last 12 months, despite more than two million potholes being filled.
The survey said that potholes remain a concern. Although the number of potholes filled over the last year has dropped, the figure remains high at 2.2 million.
The report found it would take over a decade to clear the backlog of repairs in England and Wales, and said 67 years was the average time before a “non-principal road” is resurfaced in England – a growth of 30% since last year. The annual survey also found £28.4 million was paid in road user compensation claims in England and Wales in the past year.
According to the report, local authority highway teams in England have seen budgets drop by 16% and a third of councils said they had to cope with unforeseen costs, primarily due to adverse weather conditions damaging roads.
Councillor Peter Box, transport spokesman at the Local Government Association, said the nation faced an urgent road crisis in which deteriorating roads are “patched up” but never entirely fixed. He said: “Councils fixed a pothole every 15 seconds again last year despite significant budget reductions leaving them with less to spend on fixing our crumbling roads. Local authorities … remain trapped in a frustrating cycle that will only ever leave them able to patch up our deteriorating roads.”Our roads crisis is only going to get worse unless we address it as a national priority.”
AA president Edmund King said potholes were a worrying epidemic causing damage to two in five of their drivers, adding: “It is clear local authorities need to do more to inform drivers of their reporting systems and policies. “It is also important for drivers to bear in mind that they can do their bit too by reporting potholes. This increases the chance of preventing damage, a possible crash and casualties, and getting compensation.”
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said findings were “disappointing” but “not surprising” and called on the Government to take action. He said: “These findings are disappointing, but unfortunately not surprising. While around £1bn a year has been allocated by central government for local roads in England between now and 2020, their condition appears to be getting worse rather than better. The message to the Government has to be that local roads are just as important as rail services and the strategic road network, as their condition limits the effectiveness of the rest of the country’s transport infrastructure.”