The French government needs to spend €1 billion a year for 20 years to fix its national road network which is in such a poor state that bridges are at risk of collapse, tunnels are in a sorry condition and potholes are everywhere, a recent report has concluded.
Of the 12,000 bridges in France looked after by the French state, one third are in need of repair, the report reveals.
The report, commissioned by the government's own ministry of transport also paints a worrying picture of the 12,000 km of state owned road networks in France.
It concluded that “17 percent of the network today is in a significant state of degradation” and that “seven percent of other kinds of infrastructure such as tunnels and bridges need renovation work”.
Covering the report La Depeche newspaper noted: “These findings will not surprise anyone. Motorists have noted this progressive degradation for years.”
And there have been worrying examples of the dangers spoken about in the report.
In May this year, the A15 motorway had to be closed in the direction of Paris when part of the Gennevilliers viaduct subsided (see tweet below). The motorway bridge remains closed for repair works that have caused knock-on traffic chaos around the area.
France's Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne said the partial subsidence of the bridge reflected the sorry state of the whole network which has suffered due to decades of neglect.
In 2015 the motorist organisation “40 Million d'automobilistes” launched a participative operation to denounce the state of the roads in France in which it asked drivers to flag up the roads they considered the most dangerous.
The organisation's chief Pierre Chasseray said that the quality of the maintenance of the roads is called into question in the case of 47 percent of road accidents in France.
The ministry of transport's report points the finger of blame for the poor state of roads in France at the chronic lack of investment over the years.
Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne herself denounced the poor state of a network that has been left for decades to deteriorate due to a lack of maintenance.
The government is planning on investing €800 million a year between 2018 and 2023 in the country's road network, but for those behind the report it's simply not enough.
Many of The Local's readers were surprised by the damning report, believing that the roads in France, despite the problems, are still in a much better state than elsewhere in the EU.