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Road safety concerns increased over problems with potholes

In its latest report on our roads entitled ‘Maintaining strategic infrastructure: roads’, the National Audit Office values England’s strategic and local road network of 187,000 miles of roads at around £344 billion.

This is England’s single biggest infrastructure asset, yet it appears to be crumbling around our wheels.

The report highlights the issues of local authorities flying blind and not knowing from one year to the next what their road funding budget will be, making planning for significant maintenance almost impossible.

And many parties agree that this unpredictability to road funding could be damaging to the long term value of these assets.


Road safety issues and the pothole problem

This comes on top of decades of under-funding, which has led to local authorities having to deliver wave after wave of expensive short term sticky plaster solutions as illustrated by the latest release of £168m for repairing potholes.

The net result is that according to the latest ALARM survey, we now face a £12bn bill just get the road network into good condition. As leading providers of road safety solutions, the condition of our roads is one of our core interests.

And now with the advent of funding for transport projects being devolved to the Local Enterprise Partnerships, there is rightly concern that the gaps and thus the state of our roads could get worse as some LEPs will not be focusing on transport as a key priority – or have the expertise to know what is best.

Money, money, money – the flaws in funding

On top of this, the UK Government’s Transport Committee is concerned that something needs to be done to redress the balance of funding.

Committee chairman Louise Ellman, the Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, said: “Far less money is spent on transport projects outside London than in the capital. This inequality has gone on for too long and has to change. Even on the government’s figures, transport spending per head in London is more than twice that in the English regions.”

A recent speech by Jean-François Corté, the Secretary General of the World Road Association-PIARC, summarised the UK dilemma best, saying: “In many countries, road infrastructure is the most important of all public assets. With a chronic lack of sufficient maintenance, it becomes fragile and rehabilitation costs increase sharply. The widespread economic and societal impact of inadequate maintenance is often greatly underestimated: increased transport times and costs, reduced reliability for transport times, loss of full accessibility to services and local markets, and greater safety risks for road users, for example.”

If you’d like to find out more about Clearview Traffic Group and our road safety solutions, please feel free to get in touch here.

Author: |Date Published: July 2014

Links: Route Safety News / Commentary

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