Amount to fix backlog of road repairs almost £700m

ALARM bells are still ringing for Welsh local roads. More than half of the local road network in Wales could fail in the next 15 years and the amount needed to fix the backlog of repairs is almost £700 million.

This year’s ALARM (Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance) survey report, published today (19 March 2024), highlights the scale of the challenge that faces local authority highway teams who don’t have the funds to keep our roads in good shape. Poor local road conditions impact our everyday lives, from the cost and inconvenience of damage to vehicles, to potentially causing accidents that can prove fatal for vulnerable road users such as cyclists.

They are the number one complaint in local politicians’ post bags, yet highway teams don’t get enough funding to x them. “Welsh highway teams have seen less money in their budgets this year,” says Rick Green, Chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, which commissions the ALARM survey. “Couple this with the effects of rising costs due to inflation and the extreme weather we are increasingly facing, and the result is that the rate at which local roads are suffering is accelerating towards breaking point.”

There are now 10,400 miles of local roads in Wales – 52% of the network – that could need to practically be rebuilt within the next 15 years while surface conditions have also declined, despite a 23% increase in the number of potholes filled over the last 12 months adding to the existing patchwork of previous repairs. Rick Green added: “There’s still a mountain to climb when it comes to xing local roads in Wales, which are a key asset on which we all rely, every day.

“The Welsh Government needs to honour its commitments to prioritising highway maintenance and ensure more money is available to allow local authority highway engineers to plan and proactively carry out repairs and preventative works in the most timely and efficient way to the greatest benefit of all road users – rather than just having enough money to address immediate and urgent needs.”

This year’s ALARM survey is the 29th and reports local road funding and conditions based on information provided directly by those responsible for their maintenance. /more 1 The backlog describes the amount that would be needed – as a one-o catch-up cost – to bring the network up to condition that would allow it to be managed cost effectively and sustainably going forward as part of a proactive asset management approach.
The findings, which relate to the 2023/24 financial year, show that in Wales: • • • • • • Edmund King, AA President, added: “Our breakdown data shows that 2023 was the worst year for potholes for ve years.

The latest ALARM report shows just how much is needed to simply get our roads up to standard. “Arguably the road network is a local council’s biggest asset, but not enough planned investment and repairs are being made to make streets safer and smoother for drivers and those on two wheels.” The full ALARM survey will be available to download from 00.01 hours on Tuesday March 19 by visiting

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