‘Golden opportunity’ missed to catch up on road repairs

14.36 | 18 November 2021 | | 1 comment

Image: RAC

The RAC has expressed disappointment at councils for failing to take advantage of the quieter roads in 2020 to catch up on “much-needed” road repairs.

This comes on the back of new Government data, which presents information on the condition of roads in England, as well as other aspects of highways maintenance

The stats for 2020/21 show there has been no year-on-year change in the percentage of local authority ‘A’ roads (including motorways) and ‘B’ and ‘C’ roads which are categorised as red – meaning they ‘should have been considered for maintenance’.

The figures remain at 4% and 6% respectively.

Meanwhile at 17%, the percentage of unclassified roads categorised as red has increased – up from 15% in 2019/20.

Using the metric road condition indicator (RCI), the DfT assesses the condition of A roads (including highways), B and C roads, and unclassified roads.

This is made up of several parameters, such as cracking and rutting, which combine to give an overall measure of the state of the road.

They are given a score, which is then divided into three categories:

  • Red (score of over 100) – the road ‘should have been considered for maintenance’
  • Amber (score between 50-100) – ‘work may be needed sometime soon’
  • Green (score under 50) – ‘no further investigation or work is needed to bring it up to standard’

In addition to those rated red, 24% of local authority ‘A’ roads (including motorways) and 29% of ‘B’ and ‘C’ roads were categorised as amber.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “Given that most roads looked after by councils are minor ones, it’s hugely concerning – and rather disappointing – that an increasing proportion are ear-marked for maintenance, particularly with so many already in need of repair. 

“What’s more, unclassified roads in more rural areas tend to have poor safety records compared to their major road counterparts, so crumbling infrastructure only adds to the risks faced by both drivers and cyclists. 

“We had hoped that the fact so few people were using the roads last year because of the pandemic would have given councils a golden opportunity to catch up on much-needed road repairs. Sadly, this data appears to show there’s still a huge amount to be done. 

“Given the vast sums drivers pay in taxes every year, it’s only reasonable for them to expect all roads to be in a good condition.”



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    Does the RAC think that local highway authorities staff were immune from catching Covid 19? That highways staff were not struck down with Covid in the same numbers of every other organisation and business across the UK and beyond? Many highway authorities lost staff to Covid 19 and in their memory, I take great offence to the comments of the RAC.

    Heidi Duffy MBE, Nottinghamshire
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

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