Transport User Voice May 2024 – Road surface quality

01 May 2024

Top priority for drivers

Swerving to avoid a pothole or a feeling of lack of control under your tyres is not a good experience. Poor weather, standing water and potholes all create particular safety worries for drivers of cars, vans, lorries and motorcyclists. These issues can be brought into particular focus for those travelling at higher speeds when using motorways and major ‘A’ roads. 

Road surface quality remains road users’ number one priority for improvement when it comes to journeys on National Highways’ roads. However, our Strategic Roads User Survey (SRUS) shows an overall decline in satisfaction in this area over the past 12 months.  

As we travel across the country, we pick up issues such as poor road surface quality and highlight them to the relevant National Highways region. One example where we’ve achieved success for road users is in the North West of England. We highlighted poor road surface quality on the M6 in the section of roadworks between junctions 21a (Croft) and 26 (Orrell). Clearly, the M6 is an important route for thousands of motorists each day and poor surface quality impacts every one of those journeys. 

Adding more work to an already packed programme is difficult, but a good example of where road users’ priorities must be considered.  Add to this the benefits of doing as much work as possible in one go to reduce the inconvenience to road users, it made sense for us to push National Highways to resurface the road as soon as possible.  

Having raised this issue, we were pleased to hear National Highways announcement of the £9 million investment into resurfacing has now started on the M6 between junctions 21a (Croft) and 23 (Haydock). Doing more work within each road closure means less overall disruption for road users and having smooth, decent road surfaces at the end of this work is a huge benefit to those needing to use that section of the M6 every day. 

Motorways and major ‘A’ roads carry one third of all traffic and two thirds of all freight, the most heavily used part of the road network in England. It is inevitable that road surfaces will wear and need repairs. However, it is important that we see good, timely repairs to the road network to drive road user satisfaction higher than currently experienced.  


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