The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) – a partnership between the Mineral Products Association and Eurobitume UK – has published its annual independent study of local authority highways departments across England and Wales.
The 2018 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey found that one in five local roads could fail within the next five years without treatment for repairs, with more than 24,000 miles of carriageway in need of essential renovation within the next 12 months.
The report indicates that an estimated one-time catch up cost for bringing all local roads up to a reasonable condition would top £9 billion and take over 14 years to complete. Despite an increase in average highway maintenance budgets, local authorities in England and Wales reported that the gap between funds received and the amount required to keep roads in reasonable order was almost £556 million – a shortfall of £3.3 million for every authority.
Paul Fleetham, managing director of Tarmac Contracting, commented: “Local roads are vital strategic assets. The ALARM survey’s findings re-emphasise that many years of under-investment in highways maintenance budgets has left increasingly large parts of the network under-funded and in urgent need of attention.
“The Government’s recently announced plans for a new Major Road Network (MRN) are a positive step in the right direction. However, councils need long-term and consistent funding to invest in resurfacing projects. The socio-economic importance of a high-quality, well-maintained local road network should not be underestimated.”
With over 200,000 miles of carriageway, local roads make up 97 per cent of England’s highways network and Government traffic projections have estimated an increase in local traffic of up to 55 per cent by 2040.
Now in its 23rd year, the AIA’s ALARM survey is widely considered to be the most authoritative and comprehensive study into local road maintenance funding and condition. Results from the 2018 survey can be read in full here: http://www.asphaltuk.org/alarm-survey-page/