A bumpy road ahead

Research has found that it would take £11.8bn and 14 years to get roads in England and Wales back to decent condition.

However, a lack of funding means roads are likely to deteriorate in the future due to increased traffic and severe weather conditions – on average roads are only resurfaced once every 65 years in England.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey also found that the £6bn committed by the government to road repairs between 2015 and 2021 falls short of the required amount, and leaves local councils unable to tackle the road crisis; last year alone more than two million potholes were filled in at a cost of £118m.

Alan Mackenzie, chairman of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, which produces the survey, said, ‘The network is ageing and the cumulative effect of decades of underfunding is continuing to take its toll.

‘However, our roads are deteriorating at a faster rate than they can be repaired and more significant problems for the future are building unseen below the surface. It is clear that there is still not enough money available to tackle the backlog of repairs needed to get our road network back into anything approaching a reasonable condition.’

Peter Box, Transport spokesman at the Local Government Association, added, ‘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.

‘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% 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.’

Motorists had to foot a £684m pothole bill last year, according to KwikFit, with the 6.3 million drivers having to pay an average of £108.60 for repairs to tyres, wheels, suspension, exhausts or other bodywork.