Drivers unhappy with road drainage

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Road drainage during the mid-summer heatwave was no better than in the early-year floods, according to 40% of drivers.

A further 9% said drainage in June was even worse than during the winter downpours, the AA/Populus survey of more than 18,000 AA members showed.

Most dissatisfaction with the state of the roads in mid-summer was shown by drivers in Yorkshire and Humberside, with 46% of them reckoning drainage was no better than during the winter.

This compared with a figure of 30% for London drivers who, regionally, were the happiest with the state of their roads.

Releasing the details of the survey, the AA highlighted a section of a transport resilience review published last month by the Department for Transport .

This report stated: “Clearly, drainage systems are a key part of the road network. We were advised that many local authorities do not have comprehensive information records about these assets.”

Another section of the report said: “Flooding severely impacted the local road network over the past winter and, with the prospect of a trend to wetter winters in future, LHAs (local highway authorities) face the prospect of that experience become more frequent, especially if drainage systems are not operating at their maximum effectiveness, because of inadequate maintenance regimes.”

AA roads policy head Paul Watters said: “In the winter, while the UK was focused on ‘biblical’ rainfall in the West Country and the South, the North West and other parts of the country were also experiencing treacherous ponds and puddles on their roads – following normal rainfall.”

He went on: “From March onwards, rainfall became more normal and this summer has included some long periods of hot, dry weather, occasionally punctuated by typical heavy summer thunderstorms.

“However, the roads in many and, usually, the same places have often become inundated. Weeks of dry weather should have helped drain the winter water and drainage systems should be resilient enough for summer cloudbursts.”

Mr Watters continued: “Along many stretches of often fast road the ‘flood’ signs pop up routinely, or simply remain. That’s far from satisfactory and will lead to extra cost, danger and disruption when heavy rain returns.

“Now a Government report confirms that many local authorities don’t even know where their drains are. Once again, budget squeezes are forcing highway authorities to take risks with our safety on the roads.”

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