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19/03/2024 News

Less than half of Local Authority roads classed as in ‘good condition’: 2024 ALARM survey findings

The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s (AIA) 2024 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey (ALARM) highlights the declining conditions and scale of maintenance needs across England and Wales, and serves as an important reminder that the recent focus on patch and mend remedial work is no substitute for preventative maintenance.

ALARM survey key findings at a glance:

  • 45%: authorities reporting a budget cut or freeze
  • £7.2m: the average carriageway budget shortfall per authority
  • £16.3bn: the cost of a one-time catch-up
  • 10 years: the time it would take to complete a one-time catch-up
  • 47%: local roads in good structural condition

Commenting on the publication of the ALARM survey, Gary Schofield, Head of Technical – Bitumen Division, TotalEnergies UK, said:

The 2024 ALARM survey reveals that yet again, the conditions of UK roads have worsened as the impact of rising costs due to inflation strains highway budgets. This is another reminder of the many obstacles facing the industry, typified by band aid solutions and an almost insurmountable backlog of remedial work.

Budget limitations are seeing councils try to do more for less, prioritising basic penetration grade binders at the expense of more durable solutions like high-performance polymer modified binders. This approach just compounds the problem, with earlier failure requiring further interventions.

It is essential that more of an emphasis be put on early detection and preventative maintenance to ensure the longer lifespan of roads through design, surface treatments and planned resurfacing, coupled with innovative materials like warm mix asphalt. Taking a whole-life approach to road maintenance will lead to safer, less resource intensive, and more cost-effective infrastructure that can be relied on for years to come."

TotalEnergies continues to develop, test and bring to market new products and solutions to help meet the challenges raised by the ALARM survey. These innovative solutions include AZALT ECO2 range which can be mixed at temperatures 40°c lower than normal. It offers the quality and versatility of AZALT with the additional environmental benefits of a 30% reduction in CO2 and manufacturing energy. The lower mixing temperature also supports faster cooling times, meaning reduced disruption at roadworks and less disruption for drivers.

STYRELF cross linked polymer modified bitumen is Europe’s leading elastomeric polymer modified binder. It markedly reduces the need for intervention or resurfacing compared to pure bitumen products by better resisting the forces the road is exposed to and delaying the oxidative ageing process while reducing a road’s vulnerability to heat in its early years and to cracking as it ages.

For ongoing maintenance protection, we have the surface treatments emulsions such as our Emulsis range of products for Surface dressing and Microsurfacing.

TotalEnergies welcomes the research undertaken by the AIA through the ALARM survey and will continue to engage with the industry and Local Authorities to deliver a more resilient, better performing and more sustainable highways network.