Improving England's 'terrible' road surfaces should be a top priority, say drivers 

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Improving England's 'terrible' road surfaces should be top priority for National Highways, say drivers

Independent watchdog, Transport Focus, spoke to over 5,600 driversParticipants were quizzed on their top priorities for improvement to roadsThe safer design and upkeep of roads was road users' second priority 

By Sadie Whitelocks For This Is Money

Published: 02:03 EDT, 27 August 2021 | Updated: 02:03 EDT, 27 August 2021

Drivers say better surfacing should be the top priority when it comes road improvements in England, a new survey has found.  

As National Highways (formerly Highways England) prepares its long term plans, independent watchdog Transport Focus quizzed 5,600 drivers to understand their top priorities for improvements to major roads. 

Almost one in five car and van drivers rated the quality of A road and motorway surfaces across the country as poor, with potholes and cracks being the main concerns. 

UK drivers say better surfacing should be the top priority when it comes road improvements, a new survey has found 

When asked about a solution, almost two thirds of those surveyed placed more importance on the maintenance of existing roads than building new roads or adding lanes to existing ones. 

One respondent said on the matter: 'All they seem to do is patch it, say if there's a pothole or a winter frost. Patch it up, and three weeks later it needs doing again.'

Meanwhile, another driver described the nation's roads as 'terrible', urging the authorities to 'fill in the potholes at least' and 'where possible do the work at night to make it safer'. 

Safer design and upkeep of roads was road users' second priority for improvement, followed by better management of roadworks.

Other priorities to make the top ten were better management of unplanned delays such as accidents or breakdowns, better information about unplanned disruptions (such as accidents) and better behaved drivers.

They also want better information about roadworks happening in future, better lighting on the network, reduced environmental impact of road travel and better roadside facilities such as service areas and laybys.

RAC's head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes encouraged the National Highways to review its maintenance procedures in light of the findings

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: 'Road users tell us they want to see England's major roads improved with better roads surfaces and fewer potholes and cracks.

'It's vital that National Highways focuses future investment on these priorities to ensure all road users have smoother, safer journeys.' 

Nicholas Lyes, the head of roads policy at car insurance firm RAC, encouraged the National Highways to review its maintenance procedures in light of the findings. 

He added: 'Transport Focus's research mirrors findings from the RAC which shows that the standard and maintenance of roads needs improvement. 

'While motorways and dual carriageways often tend to fare better than local roads in terms of surface quality, the volume and nature of traffic using motorways in particular means they will often require special attention to ensure they are of a high standard. 

'After all, nobody wants to hit a pothole at high speed with the potentially frightening implications that could follow.'

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