London's roads and bridges: A tale of under-investment?

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Media captionTfL says it is now investing £200m to fix the problems

For the first time I can remember Transport for London (TfL) has admitted there has been under-investment in the capital's roads and bridges.

The engineering photographs do not lie and they show some of the structures are in a very bad way.

There is serious erosion and cracking on seven bridges including parts of the North Circular and Chiswick Bridge.

In total the bridges carry thousands of vehicles a day.

One TfL document I read says without intervention the structures are a "real risk to network safety".

The timing is probably no coincidence as a long lobbying process for government money is just beginning.

'Serious concern'

TfL is making very loud noises that sustained investment in London's transport is needed.

Coupled with that, the Hammersmith flyover incident was a huge wakeup call for TfL.

In December 2011 the flyover had to be shut days before Christmas after engineers spotted structural defects which required urgent repairs. The initial work took three weeks.

Image copyright Transport for london
Image caption Billions of pounds is expected to now be spent over the next decade to repair the defects

More than £3bn is now being spent on roads over 10 years (subject to the government settlement) - £200m will be spent on seven structures by 2016 and £70m of that will go on the Hammersmith flyover alone.

If you talk to the RAC Foundation, it says the road system is at a similar point to the Underground 10 years ago.

It has had years of under investment that now needs rectifying.

It warns these structures could be just the tip of the iceberg as roads and structures, overseen by the local authorities, could harbour far more serious problems.

RAC Foundation says that is a "serious concern."

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