A new report from the Office of Rail and Road shows that the condition of road surfaces in National Highways’ East region – covering Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Essex and Bedfordshire, is consistently lower than in the rest of England.
The South West region, covering Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire, consistently performs the best.
ORR’s Benchmarking Road Surface Condition Report sheds light on the factors affecting road condition. The East region trails the national-level target by nearly 3 per cent, and has had the lowest proportion of good condition road surfaces for the last three years. The East region’s strategic road network has a higher proportion of A-roads, which are harder to maintain, and has more concrete roads, which do not perform as well as asphalt. However, new data shows that while these effects are significant, the East region underperforms even when these factors are accounted for.
ORR’s report also compares the condition of strategic road networks in Great Britain and the Netherlands – which takes a similar approach to measuring road condition as that used in GB. ORR finds similarities in the condition of strategic roads in England, Wales and Scotland. Road surfaces in the Netherlands are in overall better condition. The majority of road surfaces in the Netherlands are constructed of materials not typically used in Britain. However, differences in performance were also evident when comparing roads constructed of similar materials.
“National Highways has met its road surface condition performance target for the sixth year running,” said Feras Alshaker, director of planning and performance at the ORR. “Our report is an important tool that we expect National Highways to use to understand the variations in the company’s regions and share intelligence with road operators elsewhere to help ensure performance is maintained at a consistently high level.
“We will continue to hold National Highways to account, including on road surface condition, a key output of its asset management decision making, on behalf of all users of the strategic road network.”
(Picture – ORR)