More than a decade needed to bring roads up to scratch

Resurfacing takes place on average less than once every 100 years, according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance (Image: Dreamstime)

Highway departments estimate it would take an average of 11 years to get local roads across England and Wales “into a reasonable steady state”, a new report shows.

The backlog of repairs and budget shortfall are the highest on record in the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, an independent study commissioned by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

Extreme weather, more traffic and an ageing network are taking its toll on the structural conditions of roads. In the current financial year, local authorities spent £93.7m on reactive maintenance, such as patching and filling potholes.

Last year alone, a pothole was filled every 22 seconds.

All survey respondents agreed that longer-term, guaranteed funding will help increase efficiency and provide more resilient roads. However, the cost of repairs needed to bring the network up to scratch is at its highest ever, at £14bn.

Resurfacing takes place on average less than once every 100 years, according to the AIA.

AIA’s chair, Rick Green, said: “It’s clear from the column inches and social media posts devoted to potholes that the condition of our local roads remains a key issue for the public. Materials innovation and technical advances can only go so far: they are not a silver bullet. Without a change to the funding structure and the amount allocated, local road conditions can’t – and won’t – improve.”

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  1. One thing that amazes me is the amount of times I see utilities companies digging up roads and leaving them in a worse condition than they were before they started. When will the utilities companies work together rather than seeing BT digging up followed by Virgin a month later. GREATER partnership for utilities works can only be a bonus.

  2. Is it not possible to use waste plastic melted down to fill holes? Also some of the OOBLECK materials could surely be used to fill holes. There has to be a better way than we currently see as the repairs only last a few weeks then the hole is back.

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