The black holes just got a whole lot bigger! And a lot more numerous.

As the country is swathed under even more snow as a result of yet another dump, you can be sure road surfaces up and down the country are cracking up.

I alluded to as much in last week’s blog.

Now it’s official. Councils are worried as hell as they face going over budget to try to stem the tide of crumbling roads. Neglected in the good times, they possibly cannot afford to repair them in the bad times.

Several councils have already tried to estimate the impact on their budgets. Buckinghamshire is already paying an extra £18,000 per week for repair teams while Harrow reckons the severe winter will cost them £2m.

ICE, not the blue or black stuff but the Institution of Civil Engineers, has warned the fluctuating weather, with periods of freezing and thawing, is contributing to the break-up of road surfaces. This is particularly pronounced on roads which have already been neglected. Pot holes will definitely be on the increase.

Water gets into the road cracks, freezes, and then expands the crack. It then becomes a vicious circle. The now wider crack draws in more water, which when it freezes, expands the crack further. Effectively, our roads are cracking up.

Government is responsible for motorways and major A roads, councils for the rest. Go figure it out. With councils having to prune spending in the current recessionary climate, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise our already ‘third world’ roads in many parts of the country are going to get a whole lot worse. There just isn’t the money in local council coffers to address the problem.

So not only may drivers decide to opt for four-wheel-drive next time around to be able to cope with the increasing frequency and severity of snow and ice but they may be forced to do so in order to travel in some degree of comfort over a pock-marked road landscape.

It has been estimated that the cost to the UK economy of the worst winter so far in 30 years to be in the region of £14.5bn. You can bet your bottom dollar that the long-term cost in terms of damage to our main transport arteries will be considerably more. Let us hope that we don’t all suffer too much from a singular lack of investment in a 21st Century national road network.