Within the next five years almost one in five local roads in Wales will need to be repaired reports this year’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey, published today.
The cumulative effect of an ageing network, decades of underfunding, increased traffic and wetter winters has led to around 18 per cent of all Welsh local roads reported as being in poor structural condition, with less than five years of remaining life.
The ALARM survey, produced by the Asphalt Industry Alliance is now in its 22nd year and is widely respected throughout industry and local and national government as the most authoritative and comprehensive study into local road maintenance funding and condition.
|If you have to claim for pothole damage to a vehicle, here’s how to do it:||It again reports local authorities in England and Wales need over £12 billion to bring the network up to scratch – a figure that has remained largely unchanged for four years.|
Welsh authorities need more than £591 million and, although this is less than the £703 million reported last year, the gap between the amount they received this year and the amount they say they need to keep the carriageway in reasonable order is still more than £80 million.
Alan Mackenzie, chairman of the AIA, said, “Welsh authority highway teams do not have enough resources to arrest the terminal decline in the condition of our local roads and the network is not resilient enough to meet the challenges ahead.
“Despite this, the efficiencies they have achieved in recent years through adopting an asset management approach should be applauded.
“Working smarter, greater collaboration and improved communication are all contributing to their ability to do more with less – though of course there will come a point when there are no further efficiency savings to be found.”
|A large number of Welsh authorities (56%) have also been hit with unforeseen costs, primarily as a result of structural failures caused by adverse weather and increased traffic, which have put additional pressure on resources.
The number of potholes filled over the last year has increased to 141,020 in Wales – more than 2,700 every week.
“Potholes are a symptom of poorly maintained roads and can have a serious effect on road users but spending money fixing them in isolation, although essential, is wasteful,” said Alan Mackenzie. “The most efficient way to deal with our crumbling roads is to fix them properly and stop potholes forming in the first place.
“It is time we had a rethink about the future funding of our roads otherwise we will end up with a network that is just not fit for purpose.”
RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said, “Research from the latest RAC Report on Motoring highlights that the poor condition of local roads is one of the biggest bugbears for motorists and considering drivers pay almost £40bn a year in motoring-related taxation, they will feel short-changed by what they experience on a daily basis in terms of potholes.
“It is vital the Government starts to see local roads as a strategically important asset. The overwhelming majority of journeys start and finish on a local road, and as such both the level of funding and the urgency with which we bring our local roads up to decent standard must be improved.”
|ALARM SURVEY 2017 QUICK FACTS:
£591.5 million – estimated one- time cost to get roads in Wales back into reasonable condition (£12.06 billion for England and Wales as a whole).
£26.9 million per authority – estimated one-time catch-up cost in Wales to get roads back into reasonable condition (£85.7 million in England; £21.4 million in London).
£3.7 million per authority – average annual carriageway maintenance budget shortfall in Wales (£5.0 million in England; £2.5 million in London).
9 years – time needed to clear the backlog in Wales (13 years in England; 10 years in London).
63 years – average time before a road is resurfaced in Wales (55 years in England; 23 years in London).
141,020 – number of potholes filled in Wales (1.5 million in England; 72,544 in London).
£87,300 – total cost of road user compensation claims in Wales (£7.9 million in England; £1.3 million in London).
The full 2017 ALARM survey is available to download by visiting www. asphaltuk.org