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Highway Authorities face Bitumen Shortage | BUILDING MAGAZINE

Highway Authorities face Bitumen Shortage

A shortage of bitumen needed for the resurfacing of our roads and the increase in the price of many construction materials is effecting councils budgets.

Alarm bells have been sounded by the Local Government Association (LGA) over the large increases in the costs they are facing with inflation and also the increase in energy costs. The estimated cost of filling pot holes has risen by 22% over the last six months, according to analysis by the LGA and the Association for Directors of the Environment Planning & Transport, which is an organisaton which represents municipal engineers, surveyors and planners.

Approximatly 60% of bitumen on the European market was previously sourced from Russia but since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions councils are having to ration the supply of materials and source it from a different market, which has resulted in price increases and a delay in road repairs.

Councils also face the increased cost of electricity, steel, lighting and cement, together with the increase in the price of salt needed for the preparation of winter. The majority of local councils face a notable backlog in road repairs and the latest estimates suggest it could take 10 years and £12bn to bring local roads up to scratch. Rising costs however risk that backlog getting longer.

It is felt that to tackle this problem the government must cover these increased costs for councils or road conditions will inevitably get much worse.