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

Repair roads and save £18bn, say experts

Improving Britain’s worst roads could save up to £18bn annually on the cost of emergency services, hospitals and long term care for the disabled, the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) said this week.

“By targeting a relatively small mileage of high risk roads, we can do so with good economic returns,” said RSF director Joanne Hill.

“Too often we pay for emergency services, hospitals and care for the disabled rather than taking steps to put road design faults right.”

The RSF has worked out where investment should be focused and highlights Britain’s most dangerous roads in its annual road tracking survey.

Road crashes are Britain’s largest cause of premature death and the survey identifies specific roads that are 10 times more prone to causing death and serious injury than others on the UK network. The A573 Macclesfield to Buxton is the UK’s most persistently dangerous road according to the RSF.

Readers' comments (1)

  • The question needs to be asked - why? There are naturally many reasons and the driver, driving carelessly or not in accordance with the conditions, is the main cause in the majority of cases. However we all make mistake; mis-read the road, mis-judge speed or even be confronted by another driver doing what he shouldn't! Where these situations arise, it is essential that - in addition to the safety devices provided by the motor manufacturers and the road safety furniture and markings - adequate skid resistance is provided to help errant motorist brake in time or even get their vehicle back 'into shape'.

    Not all surfaces provide satisfactory skid resistance and at stress sites - braking areas, bends, etc. - adequate friction is not always available for vehicle tyres, with the inevitable loss of control occurring. Testing for friction - there are specified requirements - and investigating all sites where the criteria are met, is a fundamental prerequisite to ensure the roads are as safe as they can be.

    Where skid resistance falls below 'investigatory level - not 'intervention'; this follows later - then action needs to be taken. It might simply be a matter of putting up warning signs - for a limited period only - whilst the course of action, if any, is considered. On the other hand, where there is evidence of vehicles losing control, then it would seem more appropriate to take immediate action.

    Corrective action and surface treatments in particular come in many forms, but surely in these budget constrained times, simple cost-effective measures that can be implemented quickly must be worth considering. Whilst high friction dressings are probably more effective at extremely critical areas, retexturing to improve friction should not be overlooked as a viable alternative, particularly when route strategies and asset management issues are being considered.

    Low cost, energy and low carbon efficient and making best use of existing surfaces are clearly priorities for many engineers, particularly when road safety issues and reducing casualties on our roads is a major consideration.

    Philip B Mason CEng. MICE
    Regional Manager - Klaruw RMS Ltd

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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.