Austerity cuts put Spain drivers at risk

Following years of economic woes and budget cuts Spain’s roads have been somewhat neglected and are in the worst state of disrepair since records began in 1985.


A Spanish Road Association (AEC) study has found that huge investment is required to fix the problems, which are putting drivers at risk.

The AEC has warned that an immediate investment of €6.2 billion is required to repair damaged road surfaces and maintain signs and markings.

The most noticeable deterioration was found to be with road surfaces. One out of every four kilometres showed significant cracking and one of every three kilometres had potholes.

The findings follow in the wake of news that at least 35 people were killed on Spanish roads over the latest Easter break, up from 26 in 2013.

President of Spain’s AEC, Juan Francisco Lazcano, said: “Spanish roads are facing unprecedented deterioration and only a sudden change of tack in the 2015 budget can prevent a debacle.

Spain’s national budget for management and maintenance of roads has earmarked a mere €878 million for 2014, 30% less than in 2009.

For the study the AEC analysed 3,000 sections of road across Spain and concluded that some 330,000 road signs needed replacing and road markings along some 32,000 miles of thoroughfares require repainting.

The AEC blamed the falling standards on recent years of cost-cutting as part of national austerity measures.

Warning of the false economy of such deep cuts, Mr Lazcano said:

“One Euro not invested in time, means five Euros need to be spent in three years and 25 Euros after five years.

“Turning this situation around requires an investment of €6.2 billion, of which 94% must go toward pavement repair.”

Published earlier this month, the “study on investment needs in road maintenance” also called for a review of 82% of road lighting.

The AEC warned that the poor road conditions have resulted in a number of consequences, such as a decline in the safety and comfort of road travel, increased maintenance costs for vehicles and a higher level of emissions.

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