England paves the way with its largest road restoration program

England paves the way with its largest road restoration program

Even if you’ve not been driving too long, you’ve probably bumped over your fair share of potholes in your time. They can encompass everything from a minor rumble to a major shock – and while the latter is particularly unpleasant, it’s sadly becoming increasingly more common. It’s largely because of this reason that the government recently announced its biggest-ever road resurfacing programme, aimed at improving local roads that are “plagued by potholes”.

So, whether you’re driving your own motor, or you’re looking at car hire in the near future, here’s what you need to know about what’s happening.

Potholes – how much of a problem is it?

Put simply, it’s a big one. This year, pothole damage to cars was found to be at a record high, having cost £474 million in repairs within the last year alone. The AA has stated that it attended 631,852 pothole callouts in 2023 – its highest level for five years. As you might expect, tyres, wheels, steering and suspension were all amongst the components most prone to damage.

Similarly, the RAC attended nearly 30,000 pothole related breakdowns over the course of the year. That’s up by a third (33%) on 2022’s figures, and equal to about 80 breakdowns a day. Again, wheels and suspension systems appeared to be most frequently and heavily damaged, especially springs and shock absorbers.

While potholes are causing problems for drivers all over the country, it’s notably a particular issue in Bristol, where 78.5% of the roads are notably damaged. That city makes the top of a very unenviable list – and coming up hot on its heels is unfortunately Blackburn with Darwen, where 76% of the roads are damaged.

So, what is the government doing about it?

The Department for Transport has allocated £8.3 billion funds to local authorities nationally, to give them extra funding to deal with the issue. A sizeable proportion of this has been reallocated from the (contro­ver­si­ally) scrapped HS2 project. That should be enough money to resurface more than 5000 miles of road across the country over the next decade or so.

Local highway authorities are set to receive £150 million this financial year, with another £150 million the next, with the rest ultimately going through to 2034. Each authority is empowered to use its share of the £8.3 billion pot to identify which local roads are most in need of repair, and then essentially get cracking on their own terms.

They’re required to be very open and transparent about how they do it, though. Each local authority is mandated to publish information on its website that specifically outlines how it plans to use the funding, and what projects are currently under development.

As prime minister Rishi Sunak himself said, “Well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in expensive vehicle repairs, helping motorists keep more of the cash in their pocket.”

As to whether you believe him… well, that’s all up to you!

One thing is for certain though – if your own motor every experiences a major pothole problem, you can count on us to be here with solutions at Intack Self Drive. We provide a number of car hire options, through daily hire, weekly hire or even flexi hire – designed to be a more flexible and affordable alternative to long-term leasing.

With over 50 years of van, car and minibus hire experience here at Intack Self Drive, our fleet now spans over 450 cars, vans, and minibuses, so you’re always spoiled for choice. And if you have any questions about any of our vehicles, or need any advice, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01254 57811 – we’re here to help!

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