What are street works?
Street works are works carried out to the utility services that are located within public highways, as opposed to works which are carried out for the benefit of the road or footpath users, which are known as “works for road purposes”.
Street Works are carried out by “statutory undertakers” (formerly known as public utilities) such as gas, water, telecom, cable TV& electricity companies. These companies have a legal right to install and maintain apparatus in a public highway.
The legislation that covers this area is the New Roads & Street Works Act 1991 and the Traffic Management Act 2004. Further information on Street Works can be obtained from the government’s Department for Transport web site.
What is the Council’s role?
The Council has a duty to coordinate works carried out in the highway and in the words of the Traffic Management Act 2004 to secure “the expeditious movement of traffic” (so far as is reasonably practicable). The term “traffic” includes pedestrians.
The Council is a member of the North of England Highway Authorities Utilities Committee (NEHAUC) and liaises with the statutory undertakers via quarterly meetings to discuss programmes of work.
On important street works projects the Council holds regular and frequent progress meetings to help minimise possible disruption and inconvenience to the public.
The Council also inspects a sample of the undertakers’ work to ensure that they are carried out in a safe manner to the required standard. Where defects are found the Council instructs the utility to carry out remedial works as appropriate.
Restrictions after substantial roadworks (Section 58)
Under section 58 of the New Roads and Street Works Ac 1991 a street authority may place restrictions on a road where substantial roadworks are to take place.
These restrictions prevent a statutory undertaker breaking open the street except in an emergency or with the street authority's consent or in other prescribed circumstances.