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Regular news: Issue 594 13 Apr 2012

Four-year maintenance budgets urged

The DfT and local highway authorities have been urged to collaborate on a project to assess the economic benefits of road maintenance.

This is one of the key recommendations of the final report of the Potholes Review, which was published this week. The review was commissioned by local transport minister Norman Baker from the DfT-backed Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme.

The review suggests that an economic assessment procedure for road maintenance expenditure would enable local authorities to demonstrate the value for money against other competing services. “The DfT should work in conjunction with local highway authorities to develop advice on determining economic costs and benefits,” it says.

The review, led by ADEPT president Matthew Lugg, also calls on the Government to set budgets for highways maintenance for the full four years of Comprehensive Spending Review periods and says highway authorities should align their budgets with this time period.

To minimise the number of potholes, the review says local authorities should adopt the principle of ‘prevention is better than cure’. It also recommends a quality scheme to drive up the standard of manual surfacing operations, which should be used by local highway authorities and utility companies.

Local authorities should also publish their policy for pothole repairs and adopt “dimensional definitions for potholes based on best practice”.

Discuss this and more at LTT's Future of Highways Delivery North event on the 27 June

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