(NRMCS) on the condition of roads and footways in England and Wales
has been published.
The report provides the results from the NRMCS visual survey, which
visual condition of the road network (excluding motorways which are
difficult to survey visually). It also provides the results of a
structural survey of local authority principal roads and of a similar
survey of motorways and trunk roads.
Results from the visual survey for 1997 show that:
- Overall (ie for all road classes) condition in 1997 was
the worst recorded by the survey and, following several years in
which condition had been little changed, showed a marked
deterioration as compared to 1996.
- The visual condition of all purpose trunk roads improved in
1997, continuing the trend evident since the mid 1980s; this
improvement in visual condition, in a single year, is not
inconsistent with the slight deterioration in the structural
condition of trunk roads (see below). In contrast to trunk roads,
the condition of local roads declined sharply to reach the worst
level recorded by the survey.
- The condition of roadside footways (ie 'pavements')
deteriorated with an increased incidence of severe unevenness
The results of the structural survey suggest that in England and
Wales, with respect to maintenance need, there was a relatively minor
deterioration in the condition of all purpose trunk roads in 1997 and
a more marked deterioration in the condition of motorways. The
structural condition of local authority principal roads deteriorated
sharply in 1997.
1. The annual NRMCS is sponsored jointly by the Local Government
Association, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the
Regions, and by the Highways Agency.
2. The visual survey has been carried out annually since 1977 by
asking local authority inspectors to examine a sample of sites on all
roads, except motorways, for the presence of certain types of defect
visible at the road surface. Results are published in terms of
defects indices which enable trends in the condition of the road
network to be monitored.
3. The structural condition survey of local authority principal
roads was started in 1992 to enable estimates to be made of the
residual life of the road network. Residual life is the life
remaining in the structure and surface of a road before it reaches an
'investigatory' condition at which point the rate of deterioration is
no longer predictable. The concept of residual life is similar to the
'shelf life' of an edible product sold in a supermarket; a negative
residual life is an indicator of potential maintenance need and does
not necessarily mean that a road is no longer serviceable.
4. Copies of the report are available from:
Highways Maintenance Data Unit
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DR
Tel: 0171 271 3817 (After 23 May 0171 890 3092)
Fax: 0171 271 3752 (After 23 May 0171 676 2165)
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