Nearly half of England's road markings need replacing

13 Mar, 2014 11:00am Joe Finnerty

Just 16 per cent of motorway white lines are in excellent condition with M3 in Surrey the worst

Almost half of the road markings on major roads in England need replacing immediately or very soon, according to a new survey.

Only 16 per cent of the white line markings on motorways were deemed ‘excellent’ in the study of 2,500 miles of English roads, by the Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA).

The report states 52 per cent of markings on motorways, 42 per cent on dual carriageways and 48 per cent on single carriageways need replacing right now or urgently need to be scheduled for replacement.

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Just 13 per cent of the markings on single carriageways were considered to fall into the ‘excellent’ category, too.

"It is shameful that half of the markings on roads in England are so worn out that they need to be replaced," said RSMA national director George Lee.

Markings are rated on their retro-reflectivity with 150mcd (millicandelas) the  industry standard to ensure it is visible at night in the wet.

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Highway bodies recognise a rating below 100mcd as needing to be scheduled for replacement, while under 80mcd warrants immediate remedial work.

The worst road in England was the M3 between Bagshot and Camberley with a staggering 94 per cent of markings below 80mcd. The nearby A322 stretch between Bracknell and Bagshot was the second worst with 84 per cent in need of work.

The highest rated section, with no new road markings needed, was the A34 from the A44 Kidlington junction to the M40 Bicester junction in Oxfordshire. An impressive 99 per cent of the surveyed markings were deemed ‘excellent.’

Mr Lee said: "Despite continuing to give assurances of their commitment to road safety, those responsible for the upkeep of our roads continue to neglect the most cost-effective safety device available to road engineers, the white line.

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“These markings have already been paid for because we, as taxpayers, are paying to have the roads maintained properly, including the markings, and this is just not happening."

A Department for Transport spokesman defended the new figures and said the country’s roads were amongst the safest in the world while he stressed the Highways Agency takes prompt action to remedy road markings that need improvement alongside a planned maintenance strategy.

He added: “The local road network is the responsibility of local highway authorities, and it is for those authorities to ensure that their roads are fit for purpose.

"The Government is providing over £3.4 billion in this Parliament and over £5.8 billion in the next for local highways maintenance."