14-year backlog to repair roads

The one-off cost of repairing all roads in England and Wales would be £11.8 billion compared with £10.5 billion in 2012, according to the 2016 ALARM survey, an annual survey of highway bosses carried out by the Ashphalt Industry Alliance.

This year’s survey reports that councils fixed almost two million potholes in the last 12 months. On average each local authority fixed 12,000 potholes last year.

Adds the report, “ it would take 14 years to clear the repair backlog in England and Wales and  65 years to resurface our entire road network”.

Yet, notes the Alliance, “this is at a time when the average highway maintenance budget per local authority has fallen by 16 per cent; and each English authority faces an average £69 million estimated one-time cost to brings its road up to a reasonable condition”.

Responding to the ALARM survey, Cllr Peter Box, Transport spokesman at the Local Government Association, said: “It is becoming increasingly urgent to address the roads crisis we face as a nation. Our roads are deteriorating fast and it would take almost £12 billion and be close to 2030 before we could bring them up to scratch and clear the current roads repair backlog.

“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 are proving remarkably efficient in how they use this diminishing funding pot but they remain trapped in a frustrating cycle that will only ever leave them able to patch up our deteriorating roads.

“Councils share the frustration of motorists having to pay to drive on roads that are often inadequate. Our polling shows that 83 per cent of the population would support a small amount of the existing billions they pay the Treasury each year in fuel duty being reinvested to help councils bring our roads up to scratch.

“Our roads crisis is only going to get worse unless we address it as a national priority. The Government's own traffic projections predict a potential increase in local traffic of more than 40 per cent by 2040.Councils desperately need long-term and consistent funding to invest in the resurfacing projects which our road network desperately needs over the next decade.”