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The state of Britain’s roads has improved little since the Beatles sang of “4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire” on the song A Day in The Life in 1967.
A new report has revealed that there are now more than 2 million potholes in England and Wales and suggested that local authorities don’t have enough funding to carry out essential road maintenance.
Cost of a pothole repair
Of course, investment towards accident prevention is far preferable to paying out compensation so how much does it cost to repair a pothole? According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), the figure is £53.81 for an English pothole and £48.02 for a Welsh one.
A matter of life and death
Colin Loveday, chairman of the AIA thinks it is a price worth paying, having been given a demonstration of what happens when an ambulance goes over a pothole when medics are trying to resuscitate a casualty.
It is not just a case that potholes can cause deaths, they do cause deaths.
Personal injury solicitors Russell Jones & Walker recently received instruction from a Mr Richard Nicholl, whose wife died from brain injuries sustained when she was unable to avoid a pothole while cycling through the Sussex countryside on 12th March 2011.
Mr Nicholl and RJW partner Paul Kitson went back to the scene of the accident on 18th March and the pothole had still not been repaired.
Reasons for poor maintenance
The AIA has just published a report on the state of British roads between 2009 and 2010. The report’s introduction mentions that many local authority engineers with experience of examining the state of the roads are facing redundancy.
Three severe winters in a row have also stretched road maintenance organisations. The government reacted to the snow and ice by releasing emergency funding of £200 million but, according to the AIA, this is only a quarter of the amount of money needed to arrest the decline of British roads.
1.English local authorities (excluding London) estimate that it would take 11 years to clear the carriageway maintenance backlog, in Wales this figure is 14 years.
2.In England, roads are re-surfaced on average every 68 years (80 years in Wales). The AIA states that the ideal frequency of resurfacing roads, taking into account the lifespan of surfacing materials, should be between ten to 20 years.
3.It is estimated that there were nearly 1.5 million complaints relating to road maintenance issues across England and Wales during the period of the survey.
4.Almost nine in ten (89 per cent) of English local authorities believe that there is a threat to road users’ safety from road maintenance under-funding. In Wales, the figure is 100 per cent.
Colin Loveday, chairman of the AIA, points out that resurfacing is at least 20 times more efficient in terms of area-covered-per-pound spent than pothole repair. He said: “Britain’s roads need much more than the sticking plaster approach that has been applied to date.”
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