There is a ‘once in a decade’ opportunity to improve the road network with the additional funding announced by the government as well as reducing carbon and cost over the lifecycle, according to Paul Boss, Chief Executive of the Road Surface Treatment Association (RSTA).
His comments come after the Government announcement of £8.3bn 11-year roads investment plan in addition to the £200m already announced for potholes this year.
Under the Network North plan, with the money re-directed after the cancellation of the northern leg of HS2, English local highway authorities will receive an extra £150m this financial year, followed by a further £150m for 2024/2025, with the rest of the funding allocated through to 2034.
Responding to this, Mr Boss said: “We welcome this additional funding. This really gives local highway authorities the finance they need to massively improve the condition of their road networks, provided they implement a proactive strategy of whole carbon and cost lifecycle planning.
“They should use the additional funding for the remainder of the current year to deal with some of those roads in serious need of replacement, whilst planning to prioritise the undertaking of preventative treatments next year and in future years to keep their roads in good condition as well as ensuring they reach their maximum lifecycle before requiring replacement,” he added.
“Providing this does not change, if there is a new government next year, this should then continue year on year, planning and prioritising preventative treatments, and allocating remaining finance to replacing a small number of roads each year that require Insitu recycling or other forms of reconstruction.”
Mr Boss said that it is ‘imperative’ that local roads authorities use the current and additional funding using the above strategy to ensure the UK has some of the best maintained roads as we move through the next 10 years.
“We look forward to further announcements from the DfT regarding incentivisation to ensure the funding is not wasted filling ever increasing numbers of potholes that have not been prevented from forming in the first place. Only by using surface treatments can we match this long-term funding with long-term thinking to produce a road network that is fit for the future,” he added.