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Only half of firms satisfied with motorways and major A-roads – survey

The research was about roads managed by Government-owned company Highways England Photo: Ben Birchall/PA

Only half (52%) of coach and delivery firms are satisfied with how England’s motorways and major A-roads meet their needs, a new survey suggests.

Lorry operators are particularly unhappy about road surfaces, disruption management and service area facilities, according to research by watchdog Transport Focus.

One thousand managers in the logistics and coach industries were surveyed for the research about roads managed by Government-owned company Highways England.

Some 49% of respondents said the time it takes to reopen roads after an accident is “poor” or “very poor”.

The provision of on-the-day information about journeys taking longer than normal and bad weather affecting journeys was judged “poor” by one in four businesses.

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Transport Focus noted there was a “strong view” among coach and logistics industries that poor road surfaces cost them money, while service areas “do not serve their needs or businesses well”.

The watchdog’s chief executive Anthony Smith said it is “critical” for delivery and coach firms that the road network is well managed.

He went on: “The costs imposed by poor road surfaces on freight is the issue of most common concern to fleet operators – almost one third of coach and logistics managers surveyed volunteered comments on this problem affecting their bottom line.

“This is closely followed by poor incident management. Information about delays and disruption provided in real time to road users by Highways England must be improved, particularly where accidents close roads or roadworks extend journey times, especially at night when so much freight is on the move.”

A Highways England spokesman said: “We know how vital the motorways and major A roads in England are to the logistics and coach sector and to the country.

“While we are exceeding our targets for road maintenance, for keeping as many lanes open to traffic as possible and for clearing incidents within an hour – things which are important to all road users – we are not complacent.

“We continue to work closely with our coach and logistics partners to better understand their needs, so that we can further develop our plans and activities, and we value the insight from the Transport Focus report which will help support this ongoing work.”