POST Online Media Lite Edition


1,770km of roads in UK classed poor with less than five years’ life remaining

Christian Fernsby |
Indications last year of an improving condition for the UK’s road maintenance have not been sustained, with an average 16% drop in highway maintenance budgets.

Article continues below

Topics: ROADS    UK   

This year there are 11,651km (7,240 miles) fewer roads reported to be in “good” structural condition and with 15 years or more of life remaining, according to the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey.

There are also 1,770km (1,100 miles) more of roads classed as “poor” with less than five years’ life remaining, notes the 25th annual survey published by the UK’s Asphalt Industry Alliance. The AIA represents companies producing raw materials for asphalting roads.

Meanwhile, there is a continued increase in the number classed as “adequate” with between 5-15 years’ life remaining, “suggesting an ongoing slide towards mediocrity”, says the survey.

Average highway maintenance budgets are down 16%, to €22.2 million (£20.7 million) per local authority, versus around €26.3 million (£24.5 million) for 2018/19.

The survey says that an estimated one-time catch-up cost of just over €11.8 billion (£11 billion) is needed to get roads back into a reasonable, steady state. This is up from almost €10.7 billion (£10 billion) reported in 2019. Even so, it would take around 11 years to clear the maintenance backlog if local authorities had the funding and resources available to do the work.