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Report warns of record bill to fix local roads


The one-time cost to fix local roads in England and Wales has reached £14 billion for the first time – the equivalent of £68,000 for every mile. That’s according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), who commissions an annual survey of highways departments in all local authorities in England and Wales to build a picture of the general condition of local roads.

The latest edition of the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, published on 23 March, saw a record 75% of local authorities respond. It concludes that £14.02 billion is now needed to fix the backlog of carriageway repairs. This is the amount needed as a one-off investment to bring the network up to a condition that would allow it to be managed cost effectively going forward as part of a proactive asset management approach.

The AIA has described the findings of the survey as “bleak”. The aim of the ALARM survey is to highlight the connection between local road maintenance funding and conditions, based on information provided directly by those responsible for their maintenance.

The report finds that while average highway maintenance budgets have increased by 4.5% to £25.8 million per authority, this does not keep pace with the impacts of rising inflation and represents a cut in real terms.

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