ALARM reaches 25 years-but is there anything to celebrate?

The overall maintenance backlog for local roads has increased by 14%, with councils having to deal with an average fall in highway maintenance budgets of 16%.

Last year, the backlog increased to £11.14bn from £9.79 the year before.

The findings of this year’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) 2020 survey revealed that this shortfall is now an average of £4.9 million (£5.4m in England) for local authorities across England, London and Wales, up from £3.9 million last year.

According to the survey, this year, there are 7,240 fewer miles of roads reported to be in GOOD structural condition, with 15 years or more of life
remaining, and 1,100 more miles of roads classed as POOR, with less than 5 years’ life remaining, bringing the total in
this category to 42,675 miles. And, in the middle, there is a continued increase in the number classed as ADEQUATE, with
between 5-15 years’ life remaining, suggesting an ongoing slide towards ‘mediocrity.’

Rick Green, Chair of the AIA, said: “Highway maintenance budgets have dropped back to where they were two years ago. Over the past 25 years we have repeatedly seen this pattern of short-term cash injections to stem accelerating decline, only to be followed by further years of underfunding. This stop-start approach has been wasteful and does nothing to improve the condition of local road network on which we all rely. In fact, it has just contributed to a rising bill to put things right.”


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