Britain’s roads are on a ‘knife edge’ following a drastic rise in the number of pothole-related breakdowns, says the RAC.
The deteriorating quality of British roads has come to light in a new study which found pothole-related breakdowns have surged by 63 per cent from last year.
The RAC dealt with 6,500 breakdowns that were likely liked to poor road surface between January and March.
This includes broken suspension springs, damaged shock absorbers and distorted wheels.
Highways workers get the chance to patch up the most notorious potholes during dry weather, offering respite for the UK’s roads.
The increase came as a surprise to the RAC, which was expecting a decline following a £1.2 billion grant from the government to local councils for road maintenance. A pothole Action fund – worth £250 million – has also been set up to assist councils in fixing four million potholes by 2020/2021.
While there are signs that this increased funding is having some benefit on the condition of UK roads, the RAC claims they art still “well short” of the condition they were in 10 years ago.
David Bizley, the RAC’s chief engineer, claims a period of severe weather would be all it took to leave roads in the poor state they were in a few years ago.
He said: “We still have a long way to go to ensure the whole road network – not just our major roads, which are enjoying one of the largest investment programmes in a generation – is really fit for purpose.
“Certainly anyone that has experienced a breakdown as a result of hitting a pothole will know just how frustrating that can be, not to say dangerous and expensive if damage to their vehicle is sustained.”
A recent Alarm study by the Ashphalt Industry Alliance found that local authorities need more than £12 billion of funding to bring the road network up to scratch.
The Telegraph suggest that the gap between the amount councils say they received in the last year, and what they require to keep roads in reasonable order, is almost £730 million.
The RAC’s data included call outs for broken suspension springs, damaged shock absorbers and distorted wheels. The last time the firm recorded as many pothole-related defects was in the first quarter of 2015.