New guidance for contractors to help reduce congestion and speed up the completion of road works has been published by the Department for Transport.
The seven Traffic Advisory Leaflets provide cost-effective and time-saving tips for utility companies and highway authorities who need to carry out work on our roads.
It is estimated that delays from street works cost the economy around £4.3 billion a year.
The leaflets are the culmination of a £1million research initiative between the Department for Transport and Transport for London, which was funded through revenue raised by the London Lane Rental Scheme.
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Delays on our roads are not only a headache for motorists but are costing our economy billions of pounds a year. These leaflets will be an indispensable guide to those people working on our roads, providing top tips for getting the job done safely and on time.”
One technique that has been vital to cutting congestion is the Core and Vac process, sometimes known as keyhole surgery for roads. The technique, which was originally developed for gas companies in the US, allows utility companies to drill down to underground pipes and valves without causing massive damage to the road.
National Grid found the technique typically reduces a five day job to just half a day. It estimates that between April 2011 and March 2014 in London delays to the travelling public were cut by 5,670 days.
Leon Daniels, managing director of surface transport at Transport for London said: "Poorly planned roadworks can lead to substantial delays and added frustration for all road users. London has led the way with developing a roadworks permit scheme and the UK’s first lane rental scheme. Both these have helped to reduce the number of works taking place in peak hours by encouraging companies to work together and develop new, innovative methods. These new traffic advisory leaflets will help pass on valuable lessons to allow utility companies and other highway authorities across the UK to reduce congestion and keep the UK moving."
Other innovative techniques include mapping underground pipes and cables to help utility companies know exactly where to dig when making repairs.
Bob Collis, director of infrastructure division at TRL, said: “We are delighted to have been involved in this exciting initiative that helps to reduce congestion caused by road works. The launch of the new Traffic Advisory Leaflets is a big step forward for the industry in providing local authorities with innovative congestion reducing solutions that will help make our roads better for motorists.”
The Traffic Advisory Leaflets are:
TAL 2/14 Using the Core and Vac technique at road works
TAL 3/14 Using hydraulically bound mixtures at road works
TAL 4/14 Using cementitious mixtures at road works
TAL 5/14 Using temporary backfill at road works
TAL 6/14 Using road plates at road works
TAL 7/14 Mapping underground assets
TAL 8/14 Implementing extended working hours at road works