In Brief

Pothole crisis: 24,000 miles of roads in need of urgent repairs

Risk of carriageway closures as councils face £556m annual funding shortfall

Up to 12% of local roads in England and Wales could close within 12 months if urgent repair works aren’t carried out, a new study warns. 

The report, published by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), reveals that 24,496 miles of roads are in need of essential maintenance within the next 12 months. But councils are facing a total funding shortfall of £556m for the repairs - around £3.3m for each local authority.

Roads have deteriorated at a faster rate than usual recently as a result of the wintery weather that has swept across the UK over the past month.

Although the Government says it is investing £6bn into repairing the UK’s deteriorating highways, the AIA argues that it is difficult for local authorities to carry out long-term repairs due to “inconsistencies in allocated budgets”, Autocar reports.

Even if councils were funded more effectively, the AIA believes it would take 14 years to get every road “back into a reasonable steady state”, at a total cost of £9.3bn. 

Responding to the report, the RAC’s road policy chief, Nicholas Lyes, said: “This latest report clearly highlights that the shortfall between what councils need to fix the roads, and the cash they actually have at their disposal, is as enormous as ever.”

Lyes said that deteriorating road surfaces affect every road user, leading to “increasingly uncomfortable, expensive and, in some cases, downright dangerous journeys”.

According to Metro, poorly maintained road surfaces have been a factor in the deaths of 22 cyclists and 368 serious injuries since 2007. 

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