Utilities could pay for repairs five years after roadworks

Utility companies could be better held to account for poor road repairs that cause potholes or dangerous road surfaces, under new government proposals.

Utilities could pay for repairs five years after roadworks

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has launched a consultation on increasing the guarantee on utility firms’ roadworks, so that if a pothole forms as a result within five years, the company must return to bring the road surface back to normal.

The Specification for the reinstatement of openings in highways consultation will propose increasing the minimum guarantee from the current two years to up to five years, and will also introduce new asphalt standards, to keep roads pothole-free for longer.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Potholes are the biggest enemy for road users and this government is looking at all options to keep our roads in the best condition.

“Road surfaces can be made worse by utility companies, so imposing higher standards on repairs will help keep roads pothole-free for longer.”

The proposals also allow for new innovative surfacing to be used, such as asphalt with a high bitumen content that is easier to compact to the required density. This makes it less prone to potholing.

Clive Bairsto, chief executive of Street Works UK, said: “We welcome the Department for Transport’s consultation on the SROH Code of Practice. Utilities and their contractor partners are committed to undertaking work to the highest standards, with the latest published figures showing that the performance of utilities is significantly higher than local authorities in relation to the quality of reinstatements.

“However, we do not believe that proposals to increase guarantee periods are necessary or will be effective. The Government should not take forward proposals unless they are supported by a strong evidence base. Utilities and their contractor partners play a vital role in delivering and maintaining vital infrastructure which powers the economy, and it is crucial that any new regulations are proportionate.

“We welcome the opportunity this consultation provides to consider how the street works policy framework can encourage and enable greater innovation. This will allow utilities and their contractor partners to undertake work to an even higher standard more quickly, reducing disruption for motorists.”

The consultation will last for eight weeks.


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