Bid to cut congestion with changes to roadworks arrangements

Sandwell Council is overhauling how utility companies and developers apply for permission to do roadwork's, in a bid to cut congestion and disruption on the roads.

Currently, gas, electricity, telephone, water, cable and development companies inform the council when and where they will be doing work on the borough's roads and footpaths. But under the new permit scheme, companies will now have to apply for a permit to do the work.

The announcement comes as part of Highways Week – a week of activity highlighting the work of Sandwell Council’s road safety, maintenance, parking, street lighting and other teams. By using a permit system, the council will be able to better control and plan roadwork's, particularly when several companies need to do work in the same area.

Sandwell Council deals with around 15,000 notifications of roadworks each year. The other Black Country authorities are implementing similar schemes and Sandwell representatives have met with colleagues from other councils to discuss rolling out similar arrangements across the area. Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for sustainable transport Councillor Jackie Taylor said:

“We manage 550 miles of roads with 880 miles of footpaths and this network is fundamental to Sandwell's economy and our communities.

“We all know that roadworks done by utility companies and developers, as well as the work the council has to do on our roads, can cause congestion and disruption. The way things work at the moment, companies tell us when they need to do the work and how long it will take.

“A permit scheme will allow us to
more effectively manage and coordinate essential roadworks – basically, giving us more control.  We’ll be able to better plan big pieces of work and schedule things like resurfacing and road closures to reduce disruption.

The council has consulted with utility companies and other parties who organise work on the roads and the permit scheme will come into force later this month.

According to the National Highways and Transport survey, which asks the public about their satisfaction with highways and transport, Sandwell is among the top-rated council in the West Midlands region for 2019. Sandwell also ranks top in three out of four categories, and the biggest improver in the fourth category for highway maintenance.

For more details  about Highways Week, check out #HighwaysWeek on Twitter and Sandwell Council on Facebook.


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