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14.03.13

Road damage ‘spiralling’ – LGA

The road network in the UK will be permanently potholed unless there is immediate investment in resurfacing, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.

Last year highways teams fixed 1.1 million potholes – 500,000 more than the year before. The backlog of repairs is also growing longer and is now estimated to cost £10.5bn.

LGA research shows that one in five roads are now classed as in “poor condition”, and the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s annual ALARM survey of council transport managers have reported an average £6.2m shortfall of the amount needed to maintain their roads.

Damage from flooding last year cost local authorities £338m.

Cllr Peter Box, chair of the LGA’s Economy and Transport Board, said: “Keeping roads safe is one of the most important jobs councils do and it’s testament to this that over the past year they’ve fixed more than two million potholes.

“However, decades of underfunding by Whitehall, severe winters and recent widespread flooding has left large swathes of our roads in disrepair with many councils struggling to move beyond simply patching up a deteriorating network.

“Despite our best efforts things are getting worse and councils are now are also contending with cuts to roads maintenance funding and spiralling compensation costs for pothole damage.

“Unless something changes we risk swathes of Britain’s road network becoming dangerously strewn with potholes, particularly if flooding and severe winters become more common. Notions that this can be paid for by council efficiency savings and smarter use of money are deeply unrealistic.”

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