Drivers are positioned for more misery because councils in Wales and England are facing a tremendous shortfall in investment in road maintenance and repairs.
Local authorities in England and Wales need to spend £12 billion to get their roads back in good shape.
This is according to a new report – the most recent edition from the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey.
It says that the nation’s highways have suffered another year of underinvestment.
2 million potholes
More than 2 million potholes have been filled over the past 12 months in Wales and England.
But this winter’s exceptionally heavy rainfall is assumed to have a lot more than offset the impact of this work.
The alliance says, the catch-up cost of repairing the nation’s roads has risen by £1.5 billion, consequently.
Alan Mackenzie is chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance.
He said: These figures are disappointing for everybody who has worked hard together on the Highway Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) initiated by the Department for Transport.
Government plans questioned
It’s thanks to HMEP that so many highways departments have successfully made the truth to their councils to invest in more repair in order to avoid further deterioration and costs.
To see that actually work washed away is discouraging to say the least.
The figures call into question the effectiveness of government plans, announced in last month’s Budget, to set up a £200 million pothole repair fund.
By competing local authorities rather than being shared around, the scheme has been criticised because the funds in it has to be bid for.
Prevention, not cure
Mackenzie added: The government recently made significant additional funds available to help combat the results of the relentless rainfall this winter.
But money spent on repairing damage never goes as far as money invested in planned, preventative maintenance.
It costs at least 20 times more per square metre to fill a pothole than it does to resurface a road.
The ALARM survey found that each local authority in England would need a one-off investment of £90 million to get their roads back in tip-good shape.
It would take an estimated 12 years to clear the backlog of repairs currently facing councils in Wales and England.
Compensation claims soar
The report added that government needed to spend an extra £714 million each year on road maintenance to get matters right.
To make matters worse, deteriorating road conditions have ended in a steep rise in compensation claims for private injuries or vehicle damage over the past year.
The total expense of dealing with and settling claims over the past 1 year rose to £31.6 million in Wales and England.
But nearly half of this sum – £15 million – represented the administrative costs of local authorities processing these claims.
How to claim for pothole damage
In case your vehicle is damaged on a poorly maintained roads, you may be able to claim compensation through the Highways Agency or the local council.
You can even claim on the comprehensive automobile insurance policy – although bear in mind this will be recorded as an at-fault claim so you will have to pay an excess and might lose some of your no-claims bonus.