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Road maintenance backlog up £1bn on last year

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LOCAL AUTHORITIES estimate that the cost of wiping out their road maintenance backlog has risen by almost £1bn over the last 12 months, according to research published this week.

The backlog is now £5.5bn compared to £4.7bn last year, according to figures published in this year's Institution of Civil Engineers' Local transport and public realm survey. This is based on a sample of authorities serving 30% of the UK's population.

The backlog rises to £7.4bn when the cost of footway and street lighting repairs is included.

The survey also reveals that 34% of local authorities predict problems implementing their local transport plans. Increasing amounts of maintenance cash is being directed away from roads.

On average, over 10% of highways budgets are diverted by local authorities to other areas of expenditure, and almost half of authorities surveyed now spend a further 5% or more of their budget on highways liability claims. Over 80% of authorities reported an increase in claims over the past year.

More than half of local authorities see implementation of the 10 year transport plan as unrealistic, the survey reveals.

INFOPLUS Download the Local Transport and Public Realm Survey 2002 at www. ice. org. uk/ rtfpdf/localtransport2002. pdf.

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