Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Public faith in roads pitted by potholes

Potholes caused by the recent freezing conditions have caused a sharp drop in the public’s satisfaction with our roads, research from the ICE suggests.

The rise in the number of pot holes caused by severe icy conditions is likely to have caused a sharp drop in the public’s overall satisfaction with the state of our roads and highways, according to the latest public service satisfaction survey, released today by the ICE.

The survey, which monitors change in attitudes to key public services in the UK, shows that only 46% of respondents are now satisfied with the current state of the UK’s roads and highways, compared to 60% per cent in the last quarter of 2009.

This follows a sharp rise in the number of pot holes caused by the severe snow and ice. 49% also voted roads and highways as their first or second priority for more investment, up from 40% in the last quarter.

ICE Vice President, Geoff French, said: “There is already an estimated £1bn road maintenance back log, meaning many roads have been in need of proper repair for a very long time.

“This back log is not being cleared and continues to grow. On top of that we have had the worst winter for 30 years causing further deterioration and consequently, yet more pot holes.

“We need long-term, preventative road maintenance to properly address existing defects, rather than short term ‘quick fixes’. Short term solutions fail to tackle the root of the problem and do not withstand the sorts of conditions we have seen over the past few months. Quick fixes will only lead to more maintenance work, more cost and the public becoming more frustrated,” he said.

Potholes start as small cracks, which grow due to the action of freeze-thaw and steady traffic. Once they are established, potholes grow due to the continual action of traffic.

According to the Asphalt Industry Alliance, there is road damage every 120 yards, with the average cost of repairing a pot hole at £65.

 The ICE survey also showed:

  • 65% are satisfied with public transport services (no change from Q4 ‘09)
  • 77% are satisfied with electricity and gas supply to homes (up from 76% in Q4 ‘09)
  • 71% are satisfied with rubbish and waste disposal services (down from 73% in Q4 ‘09)
  • 65% are satisfied with the provision of flood defences (down from 67% in Q4 ‘09)
  • 89% are satisfied with drinking water and sewage services (no change from Q4 ‘09)

Whilst roads and highways topped the priority list for more investment, public transport came a close second with 37% putting this as their first or second investment priority.

31% said the disposal of rubbish and waste should be the top priority for investment, electricity and gas supply to homes was next in line at 30%. 24% believed flood defences should be the investment priority and 22% believe investment in drinking water and sewage should be a priority.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.