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It’s Official - Our Terrible Roads

The DriveWrite Archives

It’s Official - Our Terrible Roads

Geoff Maxted
January 6, 2014

It has been reported that a parliamentary committee plans to ‘question’ government officials about the state of our roads. As Michael Caine might say, “about bloody time”. It seems we have reached the stage where our roads are now comparable to those of Namibia.

We, the motorists, have been shouting about the abysmal state of our highways and byways for years with precious little action to show for it so now, finally, parliament is going to ask some questions when the answers are so pitifully obvious to all.

A report by the World Economic Forum has confirmed that the roads in this country are now worse than Croatia, Cyprus and Chile and on a par with the aforementioned Namibia. Even before this report Britain was a pathetic 24th during 2012/3 in the WEF’s league table for road quality. We have now slipped to 28th.

Decades of underinvestment now mean that the solution isn’t going to be easy. Local authorities reckon there is a £10.5 billion maintenance backlog in England and Wales. This understandably has a detrimental effect on all of us but especially upon industry. £10.5 billion, incidentally, is a fraction of the cost of the HS2 railway vanity project.

The government admit that things are bad and have stated that £12bn would be spent on road maintenance (including £6bn for motorway/A Road resurfacing) ‘during the next parliament’. Why the ‘next’ parliament? Why not at least start work now? Are they assuming that they won’t be in power and can thus say what they like or are they hoping that, as we plunge through another pothole, we’ll forget all about it by then?

We won’t forget because as we drive we are constantly reminded of the problem. Time for ‘questions’ is well and truly over.

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