Pothole Repair Estimates Skyrocket
Thursday, 10 April 2014
George Osborne's budget may have ring-fenced a further £200m to tackle Britain's pothole problem, but that figure is a drop in the ocean compared to figure that the Asphalt Industry Alliance are predicting it will cost to fix the country's storm-damaged roads.
The asphalt industry body estimates that to get the roads of England and Wales into "reasonable condition" it will cost a staggering £12bn. That's 60 times the sum George Osborne set aside in his 2014 budget, and £1.5bn more than the amount estimated last year. And all this despite 2,010,749 potholes being filled in during 2013.
These figures come from the group's Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey, published on the 3rd of April 2014. 74% of councils across England and Wales responded with information about the state of their roads and the funding situation, while several councils were unable to accurately assess damages because their roads were still underwater. This just goes to show the scale of the problem facing councils in the aftermath of Britain's wettest winter.
Unsurprisingly, the Asphalt Industry Alliance is urging the government to begin an 'invest to save' policy to improve road surfaces in the long-term. Chairman Alan Mackenzie commented:
"Highways engineers have reported that because their roads are in a fragile condition they are more affected by the wet weather," adding that, "money spent on repairing damage never goes as far as money invested in planned, preventative maintenance. It costs at least 20 times more per square metre to fill a pothole than it does to resurface a road.”
Potholes are also causing council costs to rise in other areas too. Compensation claims resulting from injury or vehicle damage jumped 20% in the last year. And it's not just government budgets that are affected by road maintenance concerns. As well as suffering injuries and damages from nasty pothole encounters, repeated use of uneven roads is likely to cause damage to cars in the long-term too: which means greater risk of breakdown and car insurance claims.