Road Management and Maintenance

Road repairs receives a lot of attention in the UK, in no small part due to how little is invested in keeping the roads in good condition in the first place. I’m sure that everyone has some experience with potholes which may have existed for years, and that it frustrates them immensely, but repairing roads is both expensive and quite difficult to do correctly.

When a road starts to deteriorate, a pothole is formed. These can be filled in with asphalt to repair it, but these areas usually remain susceptible to repeated damage. To avoid this, investing in high quality roads which can withstand bad weather, and avoiding utility companies which obsessively dig up the roads appear to be the best options.

In other countries, the quality of roads is usually better than they are here in the UK, and although this is partly due to the lack of investment in road construction, experts say that our climate might have more to do with it. Roads are continuously suffering micro-fractures from vehicles driving on the roads (which we have more of than most other countries), and when water freezes in these fractures, fissures appear and break the asphalt up. Our climate during winter is a mixture of freezing and thawing, which means that this process occurs regularly, while in other countries where the weather is either colder or warmer during winter this is a less prevalent issue.

Proper management of the roads is always an underrated matter, but it has a big impact on safety, and on the economy. It presents significant dangers to cyclists and drivers alike, but the loose stones and sudden drops can also result in broken and cracked windows, which cost money to repair. This still leaves the disruptions to the flow of traffic (making it slower) which inevitably arise, which can cost money through fuel and make people late to work, leading to a loss of economic activity.