Current Measures in Place for Dealing with UK Roads Labelled as ‘Dire’
The Wheelie Good Guys ‘State of Road Surfaces for UK Cyclists’ survey is now closed. Over the course of this week we’re continuing to bring you articles surrounding the insightful responses brought about by the survey. Yesterday, we looked at how our respondents feel about: the current state of the roads in the UK; what individual factor is causing the biggest problem on UK roads; and whether there has been a decline in the state of UK roads over the past decade. You can view the article here.
Our survey also looked to gauge public opinion surrounding whether the current measures in place for dealing with road repairs are acceptable, and also whether the public feel more funding needs to be allocated to tackle problems surrounding UK road surfacing. The responses were eye-opening – continuing yesterday’s trend of general unhappiness surrounding the state of road surfacing within this county.
Not one person responding to our survey felt that the measures currently in place for dealing with road surfacing maintenance in the UK are excellent. In fact 82% feel that they simply aren’t good enough. The other 18% felt that at least some work needed to be done. These figures back recent campaigners’ views that the work that gets done on the roads in this country is simply a ‘sticking plaster job’.
‘Why Should It Be the Public’s Responsibility’
The question on the current measures in place for dealing with UK road maintenance raised some fiery; but also very educated responses illustrating unhappiness toward the issue. One person stated – ‘Why should it be the public’s responsibility. We are not surveyors; surely this (road checks) needs to be done regularly, before problems arise.’ This view that the reliance of flagging up repairs shouldn’t fall at the feet of the general public was a recurring theme.
In a similar vein; another respondent claimed that ‘not everyone reports or knows to report these potholes’ and they feel that ‘teams should be actively checking roads’. Perhaps surprisingly; some people feel that the maintenance work that is carried out is actually making the situation worse. One such person commented that ‘the practice of ‘surface treatment’ i.e. spreading tar and chippings over a rough and potholed substrate leaves a dangerous surface, leaving the road in a worse state than before it was ‘repaired’.
However, in contrast to this; some people commented that the council should be cut more slack with relation to the subject. Views that we received included opinion that ‘the councils can’t be expected to see every problem the moment it occurs’, whilst another person felt that ‘it’s the lack of funds, or de-prioritization of road maintenance, that mean that even the best reporting system falls short of expectations when it comes to effective measures for dealing with road maintenance in the UK’.
Nowhere Near the Amount Required to Solve the Problem
This leads well onto the question of whether more funding needs to be allocated to tackle the problems brought about by road damage. Although the average council has a shortfall of around 6.2 million pounds to spend on highway maintenance, it is widely felt that this is nowhere near the amount required to solve the problem. One person described the current situation as ‘dire’, whilst another was unhappy with regards to road tax; and wanted to know ‘where does (road tax) money go?’
Another reply to this question came from a local authority member, who stated that ‘road repairs are an easy target for savings’. Even with this in mind, respondents were generally accepting that it is not always simple for local councils to acquire more funds for dealing with road issues. They were however, fairly universal in the agreement that the existing funding could be being spent better. One responding cyclist feels that there needs to be ‘better targeting (of) roads most commonly used by cyclists – not a blanket increase in road spending’.
A common theme that ran throughout the replies to the questions raised in this article was that more needs to be done ‘to regulate the (way) the council listens to reports on problem areas’. The government did state during a recent funding injection to tackle UK road problems that councils will be required to now publish their work online once repairs are completed. The general public will hope that this at least goes some way towards improving the road situation in this country.