Roads require £11bn of work to achieve a maintainable standard
Roads need £11billion of work just to bring them to a decent standard where they can be maintained, a report warns today.
Transport chiefs revealed the backlog just two weeks after ministers unveiled a £2.5billion, five-year fund to fix potholes in the Budget.
But the Asphalt Industry Alliance says the cash is dwarfed by the sum needed to mend highways.
Its Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (Alarm) report reveals £11.14billion is required over 11 years “to bring local roads up to a level from which they can be maintained cost-effectively going forward”.
The study says structural road conditions are getting worse, with 7,240 fewer miles of roads in a good state, and 1,100 more miles of roads with less than five years of life remaining, compared with just 12 months ago.
AIA chairman Rick Green said: “Highway maintenance budgets have dropped back to where they were two years ago.
“Over the past 25 years we have repeatedly seen this pattern of short-term cash injections to stem accelerating decline, only to be followed by further years of underfunding.
“This stop-start approach has been wasteful and does nothing to improve the condition of local road network on which we all rely.
“In fact, it has just contributed to a rising bill to put things right.
“The £2.5billion extra funding over the next five years announced in the Budget will certainly be welcomed by hard-pressed local authority highway teams dealing with increasing demands on smaller budgets, as well as the effects of extreme weather events, such as the recent storms, on an ageing network.
“However, £500million extra a year divided across English local authorities is a long way off the one-time catch-up cost of £11.14billion that Alarm 2020 indicates is needed to bring our local roads across England, London and Wales up to a level from which they can be maintained cost effectively going forward.”
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said the report “yet again highlights how fragile our local roads are”.
He added: “It should be hugely concerning to the Government that, since last year, there are an additional 1,100 miles of local road network with just five years’ life remaining.
“It is also concerning that the one-off cost to fix Britain’s local roads has increased again – highlighting the strain many local authorities are under to repair what is a strategic asset.
“While the Chancellor’s recent announcement of £2.billion over the next five years is welcome, the report suggests this is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed to bring our roads up to an adequate level.”
Local Government Association transport spokesman David Renard said: “Councils share the frustration of motorists about the state of our local roads and, as this survey shows, fixing our roads is a priority for them.
“Despite the financial pressures councils face, they continue to fix a pothole every 21 seconds.
“Yet despite these efforts, it is clear that our roads are deteriorating at a faster rate than can be repaired by councils, with the cost of clearing our national roads backlog on the rise and now over £10billion.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We know potholes make life a misery for road users, which is why this Government is providing £2.5billion over five years to help councils improve their roads – enough to repair around 10 million potholes a year.
“We are also trialling new technologies to keep our roads in a good condition for longer.
“Further funding for roads maintenance will be announced at the spending review.”
Original source article: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/11billion-bill-fill-potholes-bring-21743230
Author: Ben Glaze
Disclaimer: This article was not originally written by a member of the HighwaysIndustry.Com team.