Your Local Roads Are About To Get Better Thanks To New Funding

If your local roads are looking a bit worse for wear, we have some good news. The government is investing £1.7 billion in improving them, as it urges Brits to avoid public transport…

Investing In Local Roads

The government has announced that it’ll be investing £1.7 billion in local roads, in order to fill in potholes and repair bridges. Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, explained that transport had a critical role to play at this stage in the coronavirus pandemic. He emphasised the importance of avoiding public transport and that people with access to a car actually use them, saying “please use it”.

It’s believed that the £1.7 billion cash injection will fill in around 11 million potholes on local roads. These aren’t simply dangerous for drivers, but also other road-users like cyclists. In addition, they can cause extensive damage to vehicles. Tyres and suspension systems are particularly at risk. When they do cause damage, road-users are entitled to request compensation from local councils; something which costs them a small fortune each and every year.

Will It Work?

Whether constantly throwing money at road maintenance and, indeed, road creation will work long-term is a matter of debate. It was recently reported that there are now 40 million vehicles registered in the UK; placing immense strains on the road network and road surfaces. People are also opting to buy bigger and bigger cars, too. This SUV-mania is making matters worse by placing heavier vehicles on the road network which, in the long-term, can cause even more damage to road surfaces.

In the March budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced significant plans to build new roads and road upgrades across the country. The idea being that this will redirect traffic, deal with increased volumes of road-users and spread out the strain on infrastructure. The problem is, ultimately, that new roads simply seem to produce more traffic. This phenomenon, called ‘induced demand’, has been reported around the world. In the seventies and eighties, to various extents, it even informed government decision-making in the UK.

Either way, it would appear that road surfaces will improve on local roads in the near future. This will no doubt be welcomed news for many motorists. However, it’s certainly not a permanent solution. If the number of vehicles continues to increase, if traffic goes up, governments are simply going to find themselves in a constant cycle of funding and road building. It’s inevitable that people will begin to question precisely how sustainable such a strategy is.

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