Backlog of repairs may take 13 years
30 April 2009

It would take local authorities 13 years to clear the backlog in repairs due to England’s roads and cost an average of £47m per authority to repair them fully in one hit, according to a new report published today.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey (ALARM) covers the roads in England and Wales maintained by local authority highways departments.

Compiled by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) it describes the state of Britain’s roads as a “crisis,” and said the backlog is growing despite a reduction in the budget shortfall suffered by local authorities.

“Our current crisis relates to historical underfunding that has led to continuing poor road conditions over a number of years,” said the AIA’s chairman Mike Linley, “and there has been no significant commitment to stopping the rot.”

The state of our roads:

- £861m shortfall in road maintenance budget- 13 years to clear the maintenance backlog in England- 968,195 potholes filled in the last year- £65 average cost to fill each pothole- £63.2m spent filling potholes last year- £35.1m paid in road user compensation claims in England and Wales

The ALARM survey also suggests that the deep trenches dug by utility companies are much more significant in contributing to damaging roads than potholes caused by weather.

“Considerable concern was expressed [by local authorities] over the damage to roads created by deep trenching and its longer term impact,” the report says.

Each authority in England and Wales has an average of 29,257 trenches dug in its roads over the course of a year, with a total of around two million dug in total – double the number of potholes repaired in 2008.

A DfT spokesperson said: "We want local authorities to implement a system of regular, well-managed maintenance - not to leave things until they deteriorate to the point that repairs become urgent and more costly."

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