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  1. ITV Report

Experts say our roads are in ruins

The Department for Transport has committed to a £50 million-a-year fund specifically for tackling potholes. Photo: ITV News

One in six roads in the region are today revealed to be in such poor condition they will last just five more years before falling apart.

A survey by road maintenance experts (Asphalt Industry Alliance) says decades of underfunding, increased traffic and wetter winters mean more than a £1 billion worth of repairs are now needed.

Taking to our roads has become a treacherous business. Potholes are the curse of every road user and more of us are discovering more of them.

  • Watch Richard Payne's report on the problem with potholes:

Thomas Merrett has been more unlucky than most. He's suffered three punctures in the space of just a few weeks. An experience that's hit not only his bank balance but his confidence, too.

Thomas Merrett says the potholes are giving him punctures. Credit: ITV West Country

I feel very unsafe with the potholes around - before you could just go out and enjoy yourself but now with potholes everywhere it just spoils your day.

– Thomas Merrett

He estimates to be up to £800 out of pocket and although he believes that's a cost those responsible for the upkeep of our roads should bear.

1 in 6
roads will need to be repaired or even closed within 5 years.
£1.22b
to get South West roads back to reasonable condition.
64
years before a road is resurfaced (on average).

More than 277,000 potholes have been filled by our councils in last year. But they've still faced compensation claims of almost half a million pounds from pothole victims.

The report's authors say their findings paint a depressing picture of decline

When you analyse it the local road network is the authority's single biggest asset and it's the one upon which all the other services they provide depend on. Whether it's social services, education, libraries - it underpins every single service they're providing and if we neglect it then all those other services will suffer.

– David Weeks, Asphalt Industry Alliance

One of the chief criticisms is the patchwork approach many local authorities opt for. A cheaper option but, it's argued, only a short-term fix that'll need further investment later.

The survey found that the number of potholes filled by councils fell by 19% in England last year. Credit: ITV

Local authorities say they follow national guidance on how often to inspect their roads and react to reports of urgent pothole problems within 24 hours. Compensation claims can be made for damage suffered.

Many believe, however, more drastic action is needed before our ruined roads go completely to pot.