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Pothole repairs 'will cost £10bn'

Local authorities need more than £10 billion to get their roads back into reasonable condition, according to a report.

The shortfall in the highway maintenance budget received from central Government by England and Wales councils in 2011 amounted to £895 million, 12% up on last year, said the report from the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

The total number of potholes filled in 2010/11 reached more than 2.2 million - a 59% increase on 2009/10, the AIA added.

According to highways engineers, one in five local roads in England were considered to be in poor condition, with the figure for London being as high as 25%.

In addition, 17% of Welsh local roads were thought to be in a poor condition.

Asked to estimate the level of one-off investment needed to get their roads back into reasonable condition, local authorities in England and Wales estimated that £10.65 billion would be required. This is an increase of £1.15 billion on the amount estimated last year.

The estimated time for clearing the backlog for English councils (excluding London) was 11 years, while for London it was nine years and for Welsh councils it was 14 years.

Under-funding of highway maintenance programmes is believed by 90% of local authorities to create a threat to road-user safety.

The report said most authorities in England and Wales were unable to make good the damage caused at the beginning of 2010 before the snow fell again at the end of the year. The situation was better in London where two thirds of authorities did manage to complete repairs on their roads before freezing conditions set in again.

The total cost of the bad-weather damage to roads in early 2010 was estimated at £362 million. On average, each local authority in England, excluding London, filled in an average of just under 16,000 potholes in 2010/11 at a cost of £53.81 per hole.


From Belfast Telegraph