Each year, the state of local road networks in the UK is evaluated through a survey conducted by the Asphalt Industry Alliance. The ALARM survey results review the condition of local roads, based on data provided by the organisation from the highway departments tasked with keeping them safe. Within the report, there are also detailed findings of how much is being spent on repairing the notoriously crumbling roads, and what drivers and other road users can look forward to regarding their repair.
The 2017 ALARM survey represented responses from more than 63% of agencies responsible for the safety and functioning of local roads, and the results are equal parts promising and disappointing. It is estimated that one in six local roads may need a replacement within the next five years, but the average highway maintenance budget per authority of £17.1m falls short of what’s needed to repair the roads drivers use each and every day adequately. The ALARM survey results estimate that a £71.8m influx would need to be used per authority to fix all the backlog of issues reported by road users.
Potholes a Concerning Issue
The most glaring issue facing local highway departments is the vast number of potholes around the country. In 2016 alone, £102.3m was spent filling damaged spots in the road, equating to nearly 1.8 million potholes, or one pothole filled every 19 seconds. While there is a clear focus on fixing potholes throughout each region, the budget shortfall suggests that there is no feasible way to correct the problem completely, leaving road users at risk.
According to a leading team of motorbike accident solicitors, one group of road users is far more at risk than others. Motorcyclists can be seriously injured if their bike comes in contact with a pothole, which ultimately leads to losing control over the vehicle. When this takes place, serious injury can be experienced by the motorcyclists, resulting in life-altering physical and emotional trauma. While potholes are a natural part of road wear and tear, some cases have involved a local council failing to repair a reported road issue or adequately maintain the surface condition of the road so that both vulnerable and other road users are kept safe. Although the departments tasked with keeping up road conditions have a duty of care to the driving public, it does not always take place at the speed road users need to stay safe while driving.
What You Can Do
While the ALARM survey results show promising upward movement in the budgets of local highway authorities toward fixing dilapidated roadways, road users can lend a hand in getting severe potholes corrected before they become a nuisance. For major roadways in England and Wales, the government has created a website where road users can report a pothole and request it be fixed. If damage takes place to a user’s vehicle or personal injury happens as the result of connecting with a pothole, road users have some solace in knowing there is recourse available to help remedy the issue. There is hope that all road users in the UK will experience improved roadways and surface conditions as the highway departments make this a priority in the upcoming year.