Condition of local roads ‘on a knife-edge’ – RAC

12.00 | 15 May 2017 |

New figures from the RAC show its patrols attended 63% more pothole-related breakdowns in the first quarter of 2017 than they did over the same period in in 2016.

In a press release issued today (15 May), the RAC reveals it dealt with more than 6,500 breakdowns that were likely to be attributable to poor road surfaces – such as broken suspension springs or damaged shock absorbers – between January and March 2017.

The breakdown organisation labelled the figures as a ‘surprise’, adding that it was expecting to see a reduction in the number of pothole-related breakdowns when taking into consideration the ‘mild and comparatively dry’ winter conditions.

The RAC says the figure is a ‘major concern’ because it suggests the condition of the UK’s roads ‘is balanced on a knife-edge’, and that it would only take one season of cold and wet weather to cause further damage, offsetting any recent improvements.

In the context of all RAC breakdowns the share of pothole-related call-outs in the first quarter of 2017 equated to 2.7% of the total – the largest quarterly figure since the RAC’s pothole analysis began in 2006.

However in more positive news, the RAC says its ‘Pothole Index’, which shows a 12-month rolling average of pothole-related breakdowns, currently stands at 2.08, its lowest value since the last quarter of 2008.

The RAC says that this suggests that – looking at breakdowns over a much longer time period – the overall quality of the UK’s road surfaces is beginning to get better, though still ‘well short’ of a decade ago.

David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said: “Our figures sadly show a surprising and unwelcome first quarter rise in the number of breakdowns where the poor quality of the road surface was a major factor.

“We had expected a figure no worse than that recorded in the first quarter of 2016 (4,026) and it is very concerning that the roads, strangely, appear to have deteriorated in a mild, comparatively dry winter.

“However, the RAC Pothole Index, which takes out such short-term effects, suggests some better news for motorists – namely that the longer term picture is a slightly improving one.”

Photo: _chrisUK via Flickr. Use under Creative Commons.

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