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Three quarters of road works unrelated to actually repairing roads

Next time you’re stuck in traffic caused by road works, don’t bother taking solace in the belief those yellow-jacketed masochists are actually fixing the road; new research has revealed that the majority of road works have nothing to do with repairing roads.

They're digging up the roads, but they're not making them any better.
They’re digging up the roads, but they’re not making them any better.

Research by insurance provider Swiftcover.com suggests 76 per cent of the 1.5 million separate roadworks in the UK annually were carried out to fix water, electricity, gas and telecoms services.Most road works are carried out to fix water, electricity, gas and telecoms services

According to data from a Freedom of Information request, just 24 per cent of cases of digging up roads had anything to do with repairing the UK’s transport network ─ 360,000 instances of the 1.5 million total carried out on average every year.

Repairs to water mains were found to be the biggest culprit for disruption, accounting for 37 per cent of the total. Telecoms providers were the next offenders, causing nigh-on 1 in 4 (24 per cent) of all roadworks. Electrical and gas repairs services accounted for 7 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.

Hertfordshire was singled out as the worst area in the UK when it came to roadworks for repairing water utilities. In 2010 it was home to 18,500 repairs alone.

Drivers who experienced vehicle damage as a result of roadworks claimed a total of 9,977 times over the last three years. Insurance payouts reportedly cost local councils £29 million.

“Road work signs and temporary closures are all too familiar to motorists, but they have every right to expect clutter-free, well maintained roads,” Swift Cover head of motor claims Maxine Tighe commented. “The reality is that we face a phenomenal number of obstacles even on short journeys.”

“With so many road works across the country, it’s inevitable that we see them cause accidents. It’s vital for motorists to expect the unexpected and assume that road works will inevitably appear at some stage of their journey – regardless of how long or short it may be,” Tighe added.

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