Road Maintenance Levels Fall By 45% In 5 Years

Road Maintenance Levels Fall By 45% In 5 Years

Road maintenance levels in England have fallen by 45% in the last 5 years, according to the latest data.

Government statistics revealed that 3,366 fewer miles of road received any improvement work in the financial year ending April 2023.

That means that when compared to the 2017/18 year, the total amount of road improvement or maintenance works carried out has decreased by almost half.

For any regular commuters, fleet drivers or operators, or any regular road users, this won’t be news that’s welcomed with open arms given the impact that poor road conditions can have on vehicles.

In fact, research has shown that more vehicles than ever are being damaged because of potholes and poorly maintained roads.

What Road Maintenance Are Local Authorities Carrying Out?

Road maintenance and improvement works are still being carried out, as you may notice on several busy stretches of motorway and A-roads across the country.

But it’s the total amount of improvements that is decreasing.

764 miles of A-roads were strengthened, resurfaced or maintained last year, which is a drop of 37% compared with the 1,222 in 2017/18. Minor roads decreased by even more, with a drop of 46% meaning that local roads and B-roads have fared worse.

In terms of a bigger picture, the figures revealed that just 4% of the 17,853 miles of A-roads maintained by local authorities in England were maintained, resurfaced or preserved in the year ending April 2023.

Budget constraints are an issue for many councils, as you may have seen in the news, but the reality is that this can have a significant knock-on effect on drivers and fleets.

There is some good news, however, with the total number of roads resurfaced by councils increasing by 9% last year, although it’s still lower than the figure 5 years ago.

Given that breakdown companies revealed they attended the highest number of pothole-related breakdowns since 2019 in December last year, it’s an issue that isn’t going to go away any time soon.

The government recently launched its ‘biggest ever road resurfacing programme’ to address the issue, with an £8.3 billion fund announced.

In theory, that could pay for the total resurfacing of more than 5,000 miles of road in the UK in the next 11 years, but experts have warned that as the conditions of our roads continue to deteriorate, those costs could rise significantly.

What’s Happening With Potholes?

Well, that depends on where you live. The good news is that the additional funding announced by the government means more potholes will be repaired.

However, because the responsibility lies with local authorities to repair them, some areas are much more responsive and successful than others.

The funding may have a positive impact, but experts have warned that it could be a drop in the ocean compared to the level of funding needed to clear the backlog of pothole repairs.

Experts have estimated that it will take around £9 billion in investment and around 7 years at the current level of staffing and rate of repairs to clear the backlog and get our roads into shape.

What do you think of the state of the roads on your regular routes? Are they adequate or does more need to be done to maintain and repair our roads? Let us know in the comments below.