Red alert issued for over 24,400 miles of road in the UK maintained by local councils
According to a major study, more than one in 10 local roads in the UK could become lethal if not mended within a year.
Struggling councils up and down the country have provided a crushing insight into the decaying state of pothole-stricken roads throughout England and Wales and based on their feedback, a red alert has been issued for over 24,400 miles of road that’s managed by local authorities.
If this colossal stretch of road network isn’t fixed within a year it could ‘fail’ altogether and even be classed as too dangerous for vehicles to drive on.
However, budget cuts have left councils with smaller funds, claiming it will take them on average around 92 years before they will be able to resurface an entire local road instead of just doing a patch-up job.
The annual study conducted by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) also discovered that one in five local roads (around 40,000 miles), will end up unfit to use within five years – last year this stood at one in six.
The UK capital saw the most dramatic deterioration, with 23% of roads classed as in poor condition – an increase of 16% compared to the previous year.
Millions of motorists up and down the country have been left with huge repair bills after damaging their cars related to potholes, as councils fail to repair them and according to Government figures, potholes have contributed to the deaths or serious injury of 390 cyclists over the past ten years.
The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey is based on information gathered from 60% of local authorities who are responsible for roads in England and Wales – 97% of the road network is maintained by councils.
According to the report, councils are fighting a losing battle when it comes to potholes. In England and Wales last year, local authorities repaired 1.5 million potholes, which equates to one every 21 seconds, however the report projects that it would take around 14 years and £9.3billion to fully complete the backlog of repairs.
Some councils say they are, as of now, around £556million short of the money required for this year to maintain the roads properly.
Despite councils receiving more cash from the Government in recent years to maintain our roads, budget cuts have meant that the money has been used in other areas, so short-term repairs have been carried out rather than full resurfacing of roads.
According to the president of the AA, Edmund King, the amount local councils have spent on maintenance has decreased by around 11% in 2016/17.
“The Government is spending vast sums on new motorway and trunk road capacity, while leaving local streets to rot,” said Roger Geffen of Cycling UK.
Chairman of the AIA, Rick Green, says the scale of repairs required is ‘staggering’ and has urged the Government to provide local councils with ‘adequate funding for a well maintained and safe local road network’.
“We are investing a record £23billion on our roads to increase capacity and improve journeys. This includes providing local highway authorities in England, outside London, with over £6billion,” said the Department for Transport (DfT).
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