Highways Agency rapped in report

The Highways Agency does not understand how much the costs of road resurfacing have increased, a report from MPs has said.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report said there was a wide variation in the cost of  jobs depending on different agency areas.

The Highways Agency did not fully understand how much the costs of resurfacing a road had increased, which was "disturbing", the MPs said.

And despite the agency's initiatives to improve safety in recent years, safety at roadworks for road users and road workers had not changed much in recent years, the report said.

The committee said that in many respects the agency's letting and management of maintenance contracts was "not a bad story" but there were "still some serious shortcomings which put value for money at risk".

The committee's chairman Edward Leigh MP said: "The Highways Agency's planned highways maintenance work has probably contributed towards the recent improvement in journey time reliability on the strategic road network. It is the value for money of the agency's spending on such maintenance that is in serious doubt.

"The basic point is that the agency does not know enough about what it is getting for the taxpayers' money it spends on maintenance across its whole network. Without a better understanding of the costs of network-wide activities, such as resurfacing, it cannot hope to drive those costs down."

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