Two out of five highways in Britain require immediate work on road markings and are declining at ‘an alarming rate’, it has been claimed.
The Lifelines study by the Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) claimed 38% of markings on motorways and 36% on dual carriageways for roads managed by the Highways Agency currently require immediate or scheduled repair work.
In terms of the remainder of the strategic network, 25% of markings on single carriageways needed replacing with 19% scheduled for work.
Scottish and Welsh roads broadly needed 40% replacement work between the regions with English local authority roads having a fifth of markings in critical condition and another fifth replacing.
Road safety minister, Stephen Hammond, said: ‘Where defects to road markings require prompt attention, Highways Agency service providers are required to repair them within defined time scales to ensure safety of the road users.
‘Where there is a case for a more comprehensive renewal of road markings, service providers will develop planned maintenance schemes.’
National director of the RSMA responded to Mr Hammond, stating: ‘Our report shows national standards are not being enforced and the quality of road markings is declining at an alarming rate. We strongly suspect the layers of bureaucracy built into the system is stifling results.’
The report claims to be the biggest ever survey of white lines across Britain, with more than 7350km of highway analysed.
Specific sections of road highlighted for particular criticism included the Wigan-Standish stretch of the M6, where 66% need emergency replacement – and according to the Highways Agency standards, 96% of markings should be scheduled for work.
The A49 Standish-Chorley section was the worst performing single carriageway A-road with 85% needing replacement and a further 10% fall into the emergency category.
Shadow road safety minister, Jim Fitzpatrick slammed the government over the findings, claiming the Department for Transport was sacrificing safety for savings.
He said: ‘Markings make the road easy to read for the driver and are by far one of the most cost-effective safety solutions.
‘This is one basic safety feature we cannot cut back on.’