Councils having to repair a pothole every 17 seconds as roads continue to crumble | UK News

Councils in England and Wales repaired 1.86 million potholes in the year to March, a more than 20% increase on the previous 12 months.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey found that highway maintenance budgets have increased from an average of £20.6m to £24.5m year-on-year, much of it spent on “patch and mend” repairs which do not provide value for money or improve the resilience of road surfaces.

The report estimated that councils would actually need to spend £1bn a year for the next ten years to get their roads up to scratch.

The ALARM analysis was based on council responses to a survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

AIA chairman Rick Green said: “There are glimmers of hope, but while overall highway maintenance budgets are up, there is still a big discrepancy between the haves and have nots.

“Achieving target conditions on all categories of local roads – those that we all rely on every day – still remains out of reach.

“With the amount needed to bring the local road network up to scratch still approaching £10bn, sustained investment over a longer time frame is needed if we want a local road network that supports enhanced mobility, connectivity and productivity.”



Philip Hammond talks about potholes







Oct 2018: Hammond allocates money for pothole repairs

Another issue identified by the analysis was the variation in what some councils had to spend on roads.

While some in England received highway maintenance funding equivalent to more than £90,000 per mile, others had to make do with less than £9,000 per mile.

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, 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.

“Faced with severe financial pressures, councils have managed to spend more on road repairs in the past year in order to fix a pothole every 17 seconds.

“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 alarming national roads repair backlog on the rise and now at almost £10bn.”

Recent figures from the RAC suggest drivers are are two-and-a-half times more likely to suffer a pothole-related breakdown than in 2006.

Its patrols received 1,714 call-outs between October and December 2018 for problems usually caused by road defects, such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Potholes are a huge problem for all road users and the Government is taking action, providing local authorities with more than £6.6bn for roads maintenance and pothole repair in the six years to 2021.

“In addition, we are trialling new technologies to stop potholes from forming, as well as new ways to repair roads.

“We are now also consulting on increasing the standards of roadworks by utility companies to help keep roads pothole-free for longer.”

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