View Full Version : Oh Dear - UK roads worse condition now than 1970's

20th June 2005, 12:57
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/real_story/4104180.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/real_story/4104180.stm)

Nearly half of England's local councils may be underspending on road repairs, despite 20% of the country's roads being classed as substandard.
In a survey of 88 authorities by BBC One's Real Story, 47% admitted to spending below their budget on road repairs in the last 12 months.

The AA Motoring Trust claimed that England's roads were worse now than in the 1970s.

But the Highways Agency said the safety of road users was their top priority.

Slippery when dry

In response to the Real Story survey, AA spokesman Paul Watters said: "We looked at some data for 2002 which shows that in areas that had underspent there were 900 more casualties than those that had overspent.

"The overspenders had good reductions in casualties."

Nine out of 10 English roads are looked after by local authorities.

According to the government's own most recent maintenance survey, one in every five miles of existing main roads are now potentially dangerous due to low skid resistance.

Real Story investigated concerns about one of the most widely used road surfaces in the UK - "thin road surfacing", also known as Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA).

Warning signs are critical, as is re-checking

Paul Watters, AA
Eleven English authorities reported problems with "early life skid resistance" - which means that in the first few months after the surface is laid road users are required to drive as if they were in wet conditions, regardless of the weather.

The programme discovered that the Highways Agency is so concerned that it has commissioned a series of skid tests on the surface. The results from the Transport Research Laboratory will be available later this year.

Paul Watters said: " We really need to bottom this out because at the moment if drivers see a new surface they assume it's perfectly good and far better than what was there.

"With Stone Mastic Asphalt, that isn't the case. The road in fact behaves like a wet road, even when it is dry."

A Derbyshire Police accident investigator, Sergeant Jim Allen, told Real Story he became aware of the problems caused by SMA when conducting routine tests in the summer of 2001.

"When we were skidding the police car over these road surfaces we were skidding for further than we would have expected to do and further than we had become used to on older road surfaces."

Compensation claims

As a result of Sergeant Allen's findings, Derbyshire County Council has erected warning signs whenever SMA is newly laid.

He said: "SMA is a kind of cake mix within the tar and it's all laid on the road surface in one go which means that all the stones have a coating of the binder material which is oil based.

"When you skid a car over that, one of the by products of friction is heat and we believed that that heat was melting the binder which was lubricating the patch between the tyre and the road and that's what was extending the skidding distance."

Despite the concerns, Real Story's survey has revealed that at least 16 local authorities plan to increase their use of thin road surfacing over the next five years.

The AA Motoring Trust said there had been a 50% rise in motorists claiming damages against councils after sub-standard roads have damaged their vehicles or caused road accidents in the past 12 months.

"Road users should be left in no doubt if a new surface needs 'bedding in'. Warning signs are critical as is re-checking to establish when a safe level of skid resistance returns."

I guess road tolls would be answer. Set them at say...£1.34 a mile and all will be great again.

20th June 2005, 13:17
If you are worried about skids you want to get one of them Mercs with ESP.

If you don't wash your own underwear try a Porsche. :lol

20th June 2005, 13:22
which shows that in areas that had underspent there were 900 more casualties than those that had overspent.Sounds like all the speed cameras should be modified to photograph councils not ensuring roads are safe. £60 fine against the council per hour per camera.