‘Unsettling picture’ of roads
Underfunding, severe weather and increased traffic are relentlessly undermining the resilience of the local road network in England and Wales, according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA). The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, published by AIA, paints what it describes as an ‘unsettling picture’ and indicates that further decline lies ahead for the nation’s local roads. It says that despite the government’s commitment of £6bn in funding to local road maintenance between 2015 and 2021, highways departments in England are yet to feel the benefit and report that overall budgets have dropped by 16%. The number of potholes filled over the last year has dropped, but is still worryingly high at over 2m. The organisation’s results suggest highways teams are doing more with less as a result of improved efficiencies, with the amount local authorities need to bring their roads up to scratch remaining ‘fairly static’ at almost £12bn.