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Filling in the holes

This is an article for the South Wales Evening Post

Those of us who are becoming increasingly frustrated at the condition of Swansea’s roads looked upon the recent report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance with interest.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance revealed that it would cost nearly £600m and take nine years to get Wales' roads into a reasonable condition.

Their  survey, said the estimated one-time cost to get Wales' roads into a decent state would be £591.5m, an average of just under £26.9m per council and that the average time before a road was resurfaced in Wales was 63 years, compared to 55 years in England.

No doubt there are similar demands for the other infrastructure that councils are responsible for such as street lighting, buildings and schools, underlining why they cannot just concentrate on roads at the expense of everything else.

In fact Councils have to perform a juggling act every year in allocating scarce capital resources into planned maintenance and day to day repairs, meaning that their available resources are stretched very thinly.

Swansea’s initiative in setting up a pothole taskforce is very welcome but at the end of the day they are just patching, filling in the holes in a failing network. In my view it is long overdue for the Welsh Government to sit down with local councils and start to look at this problem long term.

They need to plan an increased investment in roads and other infrastructure over the next ten or twenty years so as to eliminate much of this backlog altogether.

Perhaps then the many drivers will not have to spend so much on fixing the damage that poor road surfaces are inflicting on their vehicles.

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