Plastic road trial could end potholes on UK roads

The Government is investing £23m in trials of new road surface materials and pothole repair techniques that could put an end to the ubiquitous sight of potholes on UK roads.

The Live Labs trials will take place in eight local authorities and, if successful, could be adopted by other authorities.

These schemes include expanding the test of plastic roads in Cumbria, using kinetic energy off Buckinghamshire roads to power lighting and using geothermal energy created from paths to keep car parks and bus stations in Central Bedfordshire from freezing over.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Potholes are the number one enemy for road users and this government is looking at numerous ways to keep our roads in the best condition.

“Today’s trials will see how new technologies work in the real world to ensure our roads are built for the 21st century.”

The news builds on the chancellor’s November Budget announcement of an additional £420m for road maintenance for 2018 to 2019 financial year.

It also follows last month’s publication of RAC data showing that reports of potholes in in 2017 were up 44% on two years previously.

Latest figures from the organisation show a slightly more encouraging picture in relation to the quality of UK road surfaces. The RAC data indicates that the number of breakdowns attributed to potholes in Q4 2018 stood at 1,714, equating to just 0.8% of all breakdowns. This marked the joint lowest percentage share of pothole-related faults seen by the roadside rescue organisation in the fourth quarter of any year since 2013 and compares to 1.4% for 2018 as a whole. However, the RAC noted that drivers are still 2.5 times more likely to break down due to potholes than in 2006.

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