Road highlighted in report

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BLACK marks . . .

A stretch of carriageway in Chorley has been dubbed the worst in the country for road markings.

The A49 between Chorley and Standish was revealed in a survey by the Road Safety Markings Association.

It was highlighted as “the worst Highways Agency-controlled single carriageway” in a report.

Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle described it as “totally unacceptable”.

The Highways Agency said the survey “was not comprehensive”.

Looking at more than 4,500 miles of white lines across major routes in Britain, it found that 38 per cent of English motorways and 36 per cent of Highways Agency-maintained English dual carriageways were in need of immediate or scheduled repairs.

In addition, 25 per cent of markings on the agency’s single carriageway roads needed replacing now, with 19 per cent needing scheduled repairs.

The Highways Agency (HA) is responsible for England’s motorways and major A-roads, while the Scottish and Welsh governments look after the rest of Britain’s motorways and major roads. Scotland was said to be a particular blackspot.

Roads Safety Markings Association national director George Lee said there was “clear evidence of significant decline” in HA markings, while the Scottish and Welsh governments were “as much at fault as the HA”.

He went on: “Our report shows that national standards are not being enforced and that the quality of road markings is declining at an alarming rate.

“We strongly suspect that the layers of bureaucracy built into the system of maintaining HA roads is stifling results. Taxpayers are paying, but the funds are simply not going on the roads.”

According to the survey, the poorest stretch of English motorway for road markings was the M6 between Wigan and Standish, while the best stretch was the M5 between Tiverton and Tewkesbury.

The worst dual-carriageway stretch in England was the A630 from the M1 to Sheffield and the best was the A361 from Barnstaple to Tiverton.

The best HA-controlled single lanes were stretches of the A361 between Barnstaple and Tiverton.

Regarding the A49, Mr Hoyle said: “It is totally unacceptable and the Highways Agency had better get a grip.

“They need to take this report seriously and ensure this stretch of road never appears as the worst, but as the best stretch of road on the road marking network.”

The road runs through the Coppull ward of independent Chorley councillor Ken Ball who said: “To be honest, residents rarely complain about the A49. Some of the markings need replacing, but as far as I know there have been few accidents along that stretch, so the motorists must know the road and there’s no problem with it.”

RAC technical director David Bizley said: “If the findings of this survey are correct it is clearly a cause for concern as road markings are an essential safety feature.

“We understand that the Highways Agency and local councils are having to economise but basic safety features like road markings need to be protected otherwise it will lead to lives being lost.”

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “We conduct our own annual surveys to assess the condition of road markings on the strategic road network, to ensure that journeys can be made safely and reliably.

“Where markings on sections of road are found to be sub-standard and require urgent improvement, we take prompt action to remedy them. In the majority of cases the maintenance of road markings is carried out as part of planned, programmed work.

“The survey was not comprehensive, and it is not clear how they chose which parts of our network to survey. Furthermore, they misquote the standards for quality of lane markings within their report.”