Roads are resurfaced once every 70 years on average

According to an independent survey commissioned by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), the average frequency for all classes of road resurfacing now stands at once every 70 years, with a road being resurfaced today not likely to be so again until 2092.

AIA says that a record number of local authorities took part in this year’s survey, providing robust data for analysis and underscoring the value that those working in the sector place on its annual findings.

The detailed annual ALARM report is used by local authorities for benchmarking and by stakeholders across the sector as a tool for tracking local road conditions and funding.

In 2021/22 the report revealed that not all local authority highway teams saw an increase in funding: 56% of authorities reported a cut or freeze in their highway maintenance budget, even before inflation is considered.

The annual ALARM report says the UK faces a £13bn road repair bill - up 25 per cent from last year

Over the last year 1.7 million potholes were filled – the same as last year – equivalent to one every 19 seconds. Overall, £107.4m was spent filling potholes in 2021/22 and the total spent over the last 10 years is more than £1.04 billion.

Chair of the AIA, Rick Green, has titled the overview of the report ‘Waving not Drowning’. Commenting on the ‘sticking plaster’ effect of filling potholes, he said: “Although surface repairs have a part to play in extending the life of local roads, fixing potholes is indicative of a network on the edge and is less efficient when it comes to materials usage and carbon emissions. And, with the total cost of compensation claims rising, the conditions of our local roads are out of kilter with the public’s expectations and out of line with what’s needed to achieve the country’s levelling up and net zero ambitions.”

Road conditions are assessed in 3 categories: principal roads, which are mainly A roads (10%), non-principal roads (29%), and unclassified roads (61%).

Roads classed as RED (poor overall condition) saw a 2% increase. The need to prioritise work means that an unclassified road is at least three times more likely to be classified as RED than either a principal or non-principal road.