The asphalt and road maintenance industries are committed to working with the next Government to improve the condition of the local road network.
After many years of chronic underfunding, the local road network is in a parlous state. Despite the best efforts of local authorities, local roads continue to deteriorate and they have also lost much of their resilience to cope with the effects of severe winter weather and flooding. The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA)’s ALARM Survey 2014 revealed the estimated cost to get the local road network back into a reasonable condition had increased to £12 billion (from £10.5 billion in 2013), 1 in 5 local roads in England now have less than five years’ residual life, and the average length of time between road resurfacings in England and Wales is 68 years.
Prevention is better than cure
Planned preventative maintenance not only helps prevent potholes appearing in the first place, but is also a more cost-effective use of funding – reactive maintenance is 20 times more expensive on a per square metre basis than preventative maintenance – and helps extend the working life of those roads.
While there will always be a need for some emergency funding to support essential reactive maintenance triggered by unforeseen events, the next government should allocate as much funding as it can at the outset. This will give local authorities greater scope to improve the overall road condition and reduce the impact of subsequent extreme conditions.