A total of £11m is needed to repair Conwy county's roads - but the council said they are deteriorating faster than they can be fixed.
The council said after two harsh winters the money would be needed to remove all defects, but funds are in short supply.
Councillors are considering how to cover the cost after a report warned that money is not available and in the near future it may start prioritising major roads.
That could lead to long delays for repairs to minor roads such those on housing estates.
The council, which is responsible for maintaining more than 1,700km of road, said that just to keep them as they are would need an extra £2m a year.
Conwy has paid out in excess of £1m in compensation over the last five years due to potholes, road defects and pavement problems.