Highways maintenance software developer Keysoft Solutions has warned that patching up potholes is bad news for Britain’s roads.
The warning follows the recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, ‘Maintaining Strategic Infrastructure: Roads’, which has criticised the Department for Transport’s approach to funding local road maintenance.
Will Baron, product director at Keysoft Solutions, said: “The PAC report found that councils were finding it difficult to move from reactive to proactive road repairs, which offer much better value for money. This is not surprising given that local authority highways departments have experienced massive budget cuts in recent years, along with a series of winters that have had an unusually damaging effect on road infrastructure. The dramatic increases in pothole compensation pay outs show that local authorities are failing to keep up with road maintenance and the low levels of public satisfaction, mentioned in the report, puts pressure on them to patch up the network, pushing them into a reactive mode.
“It costs at least 20 times more per square metre to fill a pothole than it does to resurface a road. Blitzing potholes diverts funds from planned maintenance and leads to poor quality infrastructure in the long term. Local authorities need to increase spending on planned road maintenance and hold firm against the cries from both the public and politicians for potholes to be filled. To enable them to do this, the Government needs to make significant investment now, not just a promise of spending over the next two or three parliaments.
“My advice to local authorities is to invest now in good, comprehensive road condition surveys and use an evidence-based system, like the KeyASSET HIGHWAYS software, which employs mathematical algorithms to prioritise maintenance activities and can be used to justify proactive investment.”