Types of roadworks
Types of roadworks
Staffordshire County Council highways works
We are responsible for a number of roadworks which range from planned activities to emergency works.
Our programmes page contains lists of forthcoming works such as large-scale improvements, routine / cyclical maintenance activities (gully emptying, grass cutting) and carriageway surface treatments.
Non-county council works (third party works)
Third party works includes activities undertaken by Highways England on motorways and trunk roads in Staffordshire.
Other third party works usually involve utility companies and other works promoters such as developers and we are fortunate that these companies recognise the need to reduce the impact of their works on communities.
The provision of reliable, safe, efficient utility services including gas, water, electricity and telecommunications requires both maintenance and improvement works to assets used to supply these essential services that we all rely on. The majority of utility apparatus is located within the public highway and whilst every effort is made to minimise disruption whilst repair and improvement works take place it is inevitable that there will be some disruption to traffic even with the best managed works.
Utility companies understandably wish to assure that they can continually provide their essential supplies and to enable them to do so means they have a legal right to work in the highway.
Utility providers do not require the permission of the highway authority to undertake works as this is given by licence from the Secretary of State, to enable them to comply with their own governing service supply legislation.
Additionally, they answer to OFWAT and the DWI who are their industry regulators.
As such they are ultimately responsible for the delivery of their own works and ensuring effective traffic control. For this reason we actively encourage public feedback to be directed to the third party responsible for the works.
Demand for utility works, developer works and events on the highway network remains high across Staffordshire with over 40,000 planned activities on the network each year. This is partly a result of the significant levels of investment supporting economic growth in housing and commerce.
The council’s network management unit works hard with external partners who provide essential services, support growth and enable events in local communities, to ensure that these are all co-ordinated and delivered with the least disruption to highway users.
Frequently asked questions
When non-emergency works are undertaken on the highway a notice has to be made by the company which intends to carry out the activity. This notice will have a proposed start and end date and during this time there may be a presence of traffic management such as temporary traffic signals or lane closures, even if for a period of time no workforce is on site. The reason for this could be one of many and in all cases where residents have concerns about third-party works on the highway, we ask that contact is made with the company involved as they are ultimately responsible for the delivery of their own works and ensuring effective traffic control.
We fully sympathise with and recognise the risks of driver frustration that roadworks cause and we continue to work hard to ensure that whilst we cannot, and in any case would not want to refuse works; they are delivered innovatively and collaboratively in the interest of our citizens.
As the local highway authority, we are keen to ‘empower’ utilities to work with the given and legal rights they are entitled to, but this also means they have a duty to answer to communities directly. Whilst we play a role in coordinating third party works, if you have concerns about such activities you can contact the company responsible.
- There is currently no statutory compensation for businesses affected by road works. Successive governments have taken the view that businesses should not have the right in law to any particular level of passing trade, and that traders must take the risk of loss due to temporary disruption of traffic flow along with all the other various risks of running a business. Therefore, there is no statutory provision for compensation by the Highway Authority (as opposed to a utility) if a business is affected by roadworks.
Diversion routes are suggested by the companies carrying out works and the general rule is to divert traffic to the most appropriate category of road.
For example, roadworks on an A road require a diversion route to be provided on another A road, if available. As the local highway authority we cannot refuse to accept suggested diversion routes unless there is already a significant level of activity on that part of the network.
Information on how to find out who is responsible for roadworks in your area is available via roadworks.org
Staffordshire is one of many councils and utility companies which now feeds all of its works information here meaning people can view the latest updates across the county and nationally. The site lets people know where work is taking place, at what times, who is carrying it out and how it affects traffic flow. It also provides live traffic flow information, enabling people to avoid congested areas or plan more time for their journey.
We support the value of this website solution by focussing our limited resources on ensuring accuracy of the data provided, as opposed to engagement via meetings and briefings.
The nature of network planning means that at any given time of the day, plans are ‘best laid’ but they require our skilled network management team to adapt continually, accounting for road accidents/incidents (including the M6), asset failures such as gas/water leaks and power failures and many other activities that are not supported by regulatory control (developer works, abnormal load movements, etc.).
We therefore always advise a cautious approach in advising ‘what’s planned ahead’ as the reality is that this can change daily which would undermine confidence in our communications.
Enquiries about utility activities can be directed to county council officers via Report i’ but this takes time away from the process of co-ordinating such works. Dealing with high levels of complaint in the context of ever-increasing pressures on local authority budgets with increasing demand and volume of disruptive works is unsustainable and it is essential that those responsible for their works answer to our citizens.
Within Report It you will find a number of options that you can choose from to report issues with roadworks, such as problems with signage, and traffic management or a problem with a diversion route.
Once your report has been investigated and updated you will receive an automated email informing you of the outcome.
It should not be necessary for any follow-up contact to be made by you once you have been supplied with a reference number and confirmation of your report.
As the local highway authority we receive applications for over 40,000 planned activities on the highway network in Staffordshire every year. We will always try to coordinate works so that they create the least amount of disruption but ultimately many companies have a legal right to work on the highway and we are limited in the instructions we can give to minimise disruption to our communities.
Diversion routes are only advisory and public highways are intended to accommodate a variety of traffic types. Ultimately it is up to drivers to decide which alternative routes are best for them and they may not always agree with the official diversion route.