Poorly-maintained roads can cause accidents, damage cars and, at the very least, make life uncomfortable for drivers. They’re also a headache for the local authority in charge of their upkeep: every year, councils spend millions fixing the country’s roads and paying compensation to motorists affected by them.
According to research by the Asphalt Industry Alliance, the average local authority in England fills over 16,000 potholes every year, at a cost of around £50 per hole. It’s worth mentioning that the average council also reports a budget shortfall of £5.3 million to carry out the repairs it needs to, and 2015/16 marked the first time in several years that the structural maintenance budget available to councils decreased rather than rose.
We wanted to know more about problem roads around the country and the costs associated with them, so we submitted Freedom of Information requests to 64 councils in England. Each council was asked what the most complained-about road in their jurisdiction was for the year 2015/16, and how many complaints it had attracted. We also asked which road had the most money spent on it for the same period.
Of the councils who replied, we were able to build up a picture of the state of England’s worst-offending roads. First of all, the complaints:
• Cottage Lane, Ormskirk (Lancashire County Council): 271 complaints
• A57 Liverpool Road, (Salford City Council): 188 complaints
• Chester Road, Poynton, (Cheshire East Unitary Authority): 162 complaints
• Topsham Road, Exeter, (Devon County Council): 136 complaints
• Bingley Relief Road (A650), (Bradford Council): 115 complaints
The junction at Cottage Lane in Ormskirk, Lancashire attracted the most complaints, and it’s not surprising: it’s one of the town’s busiest roads and a known accident blackspot. Earlier this year, a Facebook petition called for urgent action, resulting in a safety review by the local council.
Interestingly, the most expensive roads to repair aren’t always the ones that cause the most trouble – in fact, according to the data we received, none of the five costliest roads were also the ones that received the most complaints.
The roads that cost the biggest chunk of each council’s road maintenance budget are:
• A380 Besigheim Way (Devon County Council): £3,002,756
• A339 Newbury (West Berkshire Unitary Authority): £1,659,000
• Colliers Row (Bolton Council): £815,000
• A118 High Road (Redbridge Council): £809,317
• Ducks High Road, Northwood (Hillingdon Council): £651,055
At just over three million pounds, the A380 Besigheim Way between Kingsteignton and Newton Abbot was comfortably the costliest road on the list – and more than ten times the average spend of £283,261 across all councils’ most expensive roads.
Explore the map to discover more about England’s worst roads – have any of your least favourite thoroughfares made the list?