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Roadworks misery for UK motorists

Press release: 01/05/2014

  • There are almost 25,000 incomplete roadworks currently on British roads
  • Roadworks cover an estimated 2,387 miles of UK roads
  • Roadworks affect a third (34%) of all car journeys and add 12 minutes to the journey time on average
  • Suffolk County Council has the most outstanding road maintenance projects (1,906) followed by Leicestershire County Council (1,250) and Derby City Council (930)

Motorists may already feel like roadworks go on for miles, and new research reveals that they may not be that far from the truth.

A Freedom of Information request issued to councils by breakdown service LV= Road Rescue, reveals that there are almost 25,000 [1] incomplete roadworks on British roads currently covering an estimated 2,387 miles [2] of road. Some of the oldest existing roadworks projects include the A629 Brow Lane in Halifax and Carey Street in London, both of which were started over 18 months ago.

UK motorists say that roadworks now affect a third (34%) of their car journeys and add 12 minutes to their journey on average. Two thirds of motorists (65%) have experienced traffic jams in the past 12 months and just over half (54%) have had to take a diversion, adding an extra five miles to their route on average. This has caused one in seven drivers (14%) to be late for an appointment or meeting.

Yet roadworks don't just delay drivers, they can also cause other problems on the road. One in eight (13%) drivers say they have experienced aggressive behaviour from another driver while stuck in roadworks, and 4%, the equivalent of 1.2 million drivers [3], have broken down as a result of their car over-heating while sitting in traffic.

Across the country local authorities have been investing millions in improving the state of Britain's roads. Last year each council spent an average of £5.9 million on road maintenance projects in their area [4]. Despite this, two thirds of motorists (66%) feel that the road quality in their area is getting worse and more than a third (37%) don't believe roadworks are completed quickly enough. Of those who responded to the FOI request, Suffolk County Council has the most outstanding road maintenance projects (1,906) followed by Leicestershire County Council (1,250) and Derby City Council (930).


Councils with the highest number of roadworks in their area*

Council area

Number of road maintenance
projects underway

Suffolk County Council

1,906

Leicestershire County Council

1,250

Derby City Council

930

Carmarthenshire County Council

604

Nottingham City Council

590

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

582

Brighton & Hove

369

Vale of Glamorgan

355

London Borough of Southwark

122

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

68

*Of those who responded to the FOI request at the time of collation.

Local authorities face a difficult challenge to repair and maintain our roads this year, particularly given the impact of the adverse weather we have seen in recent months. With more cars on the road than ever, it will be hard to carry out roadworks without impacting drivers. Sitting in traffic with the engine running for long periods of time can cause engine overheating and damage a car. To reduce the impact on your car, make sure it is regularly serviced and that you keep your oil and water topped up and if you are being held in stationary traffic for more than a minute, switch the engine off.

Peter Horton, Managing Director of LV= Road Rescue

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For further information please contact:

Vanessa Chance, vanessa.chance@LV.com, 0208 256 6996 / 07947 380074


Notes

All research unless stated otherwise was conducted by ICM research between 12 and 13 March 2014. ICM questioned a representative sample of 2,001 Britons about their experience of driving and roadworks.

In addition, LV= issued a Freedom of Information request to all 434 city, district, borough and county councils. Of these 239 had responded at the time of collation, with 122 of these saying that they weren't responsible for road maintenance in their area, and it was covered by one of the other councils.

  • Source: FOI data. 91 councils provided information about the number of roadworks in their area at the time of collating the data, which came to 10,499 outstanding roadworks in total. 10,499 roadworks divided by 91 councils = 115 roadworks per council on average.

    Of the 239 councils that responded, 122 (51%) said they were not responsible for road maintenance in their area and that it was covered by one of the other councils the request was sent to instead. Using this as an average, we estimate that 50% of councils are responsible for road maintenance, equivalent to 217 councils.

    If 217 councils are responsible for roadworks and have an average of 115 outstanding roadworks each in their area, this equates to 24,995 outstanding roadworks across the country in total (217 x 115 = 24,955).
  • Source: FOI data. 62 councils provided information about the total length of roadworks in their area at the time of collating the data, which came to 655 miles in total. 655 miles divided by 62 councils = 11 miles of roadworks per council on average.

    If 217 councils are responsible for roadworks and have an average of 11 miles of roadworks each in their area, this equates to 2,387 miles of roadworks across the country in total.
  • Source: ICM omnibus data. According to the research, 64% of the UK adult population (47.7 million people) drive, and of these 4% have broken down as a result of roadworks in the past 12 months, equating to 1,221,120 drivers.
  • Source: FOI data. 109 councils responded to the question 'How much did your council spend on road maintenance projects in total last year (2013)?' The total given was £647,558,408, divided by 109 = 5,940,902 per council area.

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