Pledge to improve slow and disruptive roadworks
- Credit: Archant
Frustrated motorists have been reassured that improvements will be made to help ease the problems of slow and disruptive roadworks by utility firms.
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, transport and rural affairs, Mary Evans, admitted there have been problems co-ordinating work on the roads by utility firms like gas and electricity.
“I am very serious about this, it’s very, very difficult,” she said at Suffolk County Council’s full meeting last week.
“We have an issue with the way utilities sometimes close the roads, we have an issue with communication and I will take this up.”
In June a major review of highways maintenance was announced which includes a probe into how the budget is spent, the pothole epidemic which saw more than 12,000 needing urgent repairs in the first six months of this year and how motorists were informed.
Ms Evans said: “My recently announced review into how we manage the highways in Suffolk is picking up pace and much activity is taking place to improve the way we deliver services.
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“One key element of this review is how road space in Suffolk is booked for maintenance, including the works carried out by utility companies.
“We welcome the ongoing maintenance carried out by the utilities, who ensure the road network remains safe for use.
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“However, I feel that more could be done to manage better the advanced warning given for their works, signage for diversions, the length of time spent on site and the condition in which the road is left.
“I am committed to forging better relationships with our utility companies for the benefit of all road users in Suffolk.”
John Field, Liberal Democrat councillor for Gipping Valley who put the question to Ms Evans on Thursday, said: “The glacial pace is often down to intermittent working and shared working,” and called for extended working hours such as 8am-8pm when work was being done on critical routes.
Issues of too many days being booked for work to be carried out, a lack of communication to motorists beforehand and times of no-one being seen working on site were also raised as problems.
A timescale of when the review’s findings and solutions has not yet been given, but it is understood that the review of the maintenance operational plan is the first priority.