More than one in ten local roads could become lethal if they are not fixed within a year, according to a major study.
Cash-strapped councils have provided a devastating insight into the crumbling state of pothole-ridden roads across England and Wales.
Based on their feedback, a red alert has been issued for more than 24,400 miles of road – almost the length of Earth’s circumference – that are managed by local authorities.
Cash-strapped councils have provided a devastating insight into the crumbling state of pothole-ridden roads across England and Wales (file photo)
This giant stretch of the road network could ‘fail’ – or become too dangerous to drive on – if not repaired over the next year.
But budget cuts mean councils are so lacking in funds they estimate it will take them an average 92 years before they resurface a local road rather than just patching it up.
The annual study by the Asphalt Industry Alliance also found that one in five local roads – equivalent to more than 40,000 miles – will become unfit to drive on within five years. This is up from one in six last year.
The most dramatic deterioration was in London, where 23 per cent of roads are in poor condition, up from 16 per cent the previous year. The failure of councils to fill in potholes has become a bugbear for millions of motorists, who have been left facing hefty repair bills after damaging their cars.
Government figures also show potholes contributed to the deaths or serious injury of 390 cyclists over the past decade.
But budget cuts mean councils are so lacking in funds they estimate it will take them an average 92 years before they resurface a local road rather than just patching it up (file photo)
The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey is based on information from 60 per cent of local authorities responsible for roads in England and Wales. Councils oversee 97 per cent of the road network.
The report reveals how councils are fighting a losing battle with potholes. Local authorities filled in 1.5 million last year in England and Wales – one every 21 seconds. Despite this, the report estimates it would take 14 years and £9.3billion to complete a backlog of repairs.
Councils reported they are already £556million short of the money they need to maintain the roads properly this year.
AIA chairman Rick Green (pictured) described the scale of repairs needed as ‘staggering’, and called on the Government to provide councils with ‘adequate funding for a well maintained and safe local road network’
Although councils have received more cash from the Government to maintain roads in recent years, budget cuts mean many have had to use the money for other areas, such as social care. It means they are carrying out short-term repairs instead of resurfacing roads.
AA president Edmund King said the amount spent on maintenance had fallen almost 11 per cent on 2016/17.
AIA chairman Rick Green described the scale of repairs needed as ‘staggering’, and called on the Government to provide councils with ‘adequate funding for a well maintained and safe local road network’.
Roger Geffen, of Cycling UK, said: ‘The Government is spending vast sums on new motorway and trunk road capacity, while leaving local streets to rot.’
The Department for Transport said: ‘We are investing a record £23billion on our roads to increase capacity and improve journeys. This includes providing local highway authorities in England, outside London, with over £6billion.’