Best practice in street works and highway works: introduction
Growth in the economy, the introduction of competition into undertakers’ services and increasing customer demand for essential services has brought with it increasing numbers of excavations in the streets in order to supply these services.
The increase in the number of undertakers licensed to lay mains and cables, within our streets, brings with it the increased potential for conflict between the undertakers who have the statutory rights to use the streets for provision of essential services, the highway authorities and others who maintain them, and those who use the streets for transport purposes who are the recipients of those services.
In the interests of the community and the economy, it is important that the safe and efficient movement of traffic, pedestrians and cyclists is maintained on the streets and, also, in the vicinity of trams, light rail and level crossings. To facilitate this, the guidance, based on operational experience, provides principles and examples of best practice for the implementation of street works and highway works. Its aim is to help undertakers, highway authorities and other organisations carrying out works in the street to build on these principles in the future to avoid unnecessary disruption and inconvenience to highway users.
In particular, this guidance provides examples of best practice in street works, which build on the principles of the Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee (HAUC) codes of practice, and best practice in highway works under the Highways Act 1980. The highway authorities, undertakers and the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) all agreed that such examples of best practice are desirable.
All involved in the planning, supervision, execution and monitoring of street works and highway works are encouraged to implement the works whilst carrying out their respective duties under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA) the Highways Act 1980 and health and safety legislation.
The document is intended to cover all works but specifically planned major works and planned maintenance and works on busy and strategic routes. It does not remove or affect the undertakers’ or authorities’ statutory rights to carry out emergency, urgent, provision and restoration of customer service or routine maintenance works. The guidance will periodically be updated to reflect current practice that will then encourage continuous improvement in line with best value legislation.