Roads: Bumpy ride ahead for motorists

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Motorists face a bumpy ride ahead because of a "dramatic cut" in motorway and trunk road repairs, it was revealed yesterday.

Only 13 major maintenance schemes are being carried out in 1997-98 compared with 150 three years ago, the British Road Federation said, adding that just pounds 356m is being spent on maintenance on major roads this financial year compared with pounds 510m in 1994-95. The federation also revealed that only 54 network enhancement projects, worth less than pounds 11m, had so far been allocated in 1997-98, compared with the pounds 113.9m allocated in 1995- 96 that allowed nearly 300 projects to go ahead. The cutbacks were outlined by the BRF as it published its 1997 Basic Roads Statistics report, which showed that there are more than 26 million vehicles on Britain's roads; car use is likely to grow by 30 per cent in the next 20 years; road users contribute around pounds 24bn a year in vehicle and fuel tax, leaving the Treasury with a pounds 15bn profit.