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£1 billion needed to fix West Midlands roads

By Richard Guttridge | Transport | Published:

Nearly £1 billion is needed to get roads in the West Midlands up to an acceptable standard, according to new research.

More cash is needed to fix crumbling roads, say campaigners

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced a spending package to fill in potholes and fix crumbling roads but campaigners say it will not be enough.

According to the latest Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, it would take 10 years to clear the carriageway maintenance backlog in the region.

Crumbling roads have also resulted in £1.9 million in compensation being paid out to drivers over the last year.

The survey estimated fixing the region's roads would cost £994 million.

Councils in the Black Country and Staffordshire have had to contend with huge budget cuts over the last decade, which they say has impacted on their ability to keep up with road repairs.

While Mr Johnson has pledged to 'level-up' Britain with a spending splurge, the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) says sustained investment will be needed to bring the region's roads up to scratch.

Rick Green, chair of the AIA, said: “Highway maintenance budgets have dropped back to where they were two years ago.

"Over the past 25 years we have repeatedly seen this pattern of short-term cash injections to stem accelerating decline, only to be followed by further years of underfunding.

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"This stop-start approach has been wasteful and does nothing to improve the condition of local road network on which we all rely. In fact, it has just contributed to a rising bill to put things right.

“The £2.5 billion extra funding over the next five years announced in the Budget will certainly be welcomed by hard-pressed local authority highway teams dealing with increasing demands on smaller budgets, as well as the effects of extreme weather events, such as the recent storms, on an ageing network.

“What’s needed is additional and sustained investment to help underpin the Government’s levelling-up strategy and social cohesion goals, as well as complement its ambitions for more sustainable modes of transport."

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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