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The 17th Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey published today (15 March 2012) has gathered information from 70 per cent of the local authority highways departments across England and Wales

They report another remarkably high number of potholes filled on their roads over the last year: a total of 1.7 million across England and Wales. Based on average costs quoted by survey respondents, the cost of filling that number of potholes equated to £90 million.

Filling potholes is a short-term reactive form of maintenance that is at least 20 times more expensive than planned preventative maintenance which involves resurfacing a road at regular intervals.

This year’s survey reveals the sorry legacy of historic underfunding of the local authority highway maintenance service after three successive periods of severe winter weather. The number of complaints received from the general public increased by 10 per cent over the last year, amounting to an average of over 12,500 received by each authority in England (excluding London).

Alan Mackenzie, Chairman of the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) points out: “Severe winter weather would not, in itself, produce a plague of potholes on well maintained roads. These disastrous figures result from decades of underfunding and enforced short-term planning, frustrating the efforts of local authority highways engineers to carry out the preventative work which they know has needed to be done. One in five local authority roads has less than five years life. This is clearly unsustainable.

“Preparation of robust asset management inventory plans will help councillors to identify where the spending is needed.”

Written by Scott Buckler
Thursday, 15 March 2012 6:06

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