Potholes leave one-in-five local roads in poor condition

Cars pass a deep potholed road in Gloucestershire, which along with most of the South West UK, needs attention and repair work after a year of heavy rainfall and recent flooding, creating potholes and debris. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday January, 6, 2013. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The Asphalt Industry Alliance's (AIA) annual road condition report has revealed that as much as a fifth of the UK's roads are in a such poor state that they may only have five years of life remaining.

The body's report, called the "Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance" (ALARM) survey, revealed up to 40,000 miles of the UK's 246,000-mile road network is in a poor condition. Nearly 25,000 miles of roads – enough to drive around the entire planet – will need essential maintenance within the next 12 months.

See also: Pothole-related breakdowns surge in 2017

See also: Potholes kill or seriously injure nearly 400 cyclists in the last decade

ALARM also revealed a significant spending shortfall on local roads. According to the survey, the gap in funding required to keep the roads in England and Wales in reasonable order is £3.3m for each local authority, or £556m in total. Even if the funding was in place now, it would still take 14 years to get local roads back to a reasonable state.

Rick Green, chairman of the AIA, said: "Local roads are a vital asset, worth in the region of £400 billion, and they support all aspects of our daily work and home lives. But funding for their adequate maintenance has fallen short for so many years that further deterioration is inevitable.

"This is reflected in road condition, with one in five of our local roads now classed as structurally poor – with less than five years' life remaining – compared with one in six reported last year."

Although local authorities filled in over 1.5 million potholes last year, defective road surfaces still pose significant danger to vehicles and cyclists. Councils are liable for damage and injury from incidents caused by potholes, with Somerset County Council paying out £1.8m for a single claim in 2017.

By Andrew Evans

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