Delivering street works in Salford

Like many other boroughs and cities across the UK, Salford’s roads are a hive of activity for residents, businesses, visitors and commuters. It’s vital that these roads are kept free from congestion as much as possible to help road users reach their destination in a timely manner and to encourage further investment and visitors to the area by reducing congestion on key routes.

What was the challenge for Salford?

If utility companies did not complete road repairs to the required standards, then it caused potholes or other highway defects to form in the future, which would subsequently have to be repaired at the cost of the Council. In addition, the working hours of utility companies could often overrun, causing additional and avoidable disruption to roads in the City.

What was the solution?

Since the enacting of the New Roads & Street Works Act (NRSWA) 1999, utility repairs are subject to an inspection process throughout the lifespan of the works and Council’s can also monitor performance of the repair for up to three years following completion. Salford City Council worked with Urban Vision to introduce a thorough street works inspection regime. By doing this it:

  • Helps to change the behaviours of utility companies
  • Ensures the council hit local authority inspection targets
  • Ensures utility repairs were completed to the correct standard
  • Allows the council to monitor and manage the highway occupancy timescales to make sure works were not overrunning or being completed outside of agreed working hours

What did we do?

We provide an end-to-end enhanced inspection and defect management service on behalf of the Council, which inspects most reinstatements made by third party companies to ensure they meet the legislative requirements.

As part of a statutory requirement, Salford City Council has to complete a 30% post inspection rate on all utility reinstatement works carried out in Salford over the course of a year. By bringing in the resources and expertise of our street works service, we are able to achieve a 95% post inspection rate for the Council. This has helped to identify a larger amount of inadequate repairs for the utility companies to come back and repair, reducing the cost burden on the Council to repair them out of their highways budget. Our team also closely monitored the working hours and the amount of time that works were being completed on site, to ensure adherence with permissions granted by the Council. Fines were issued when works were completed outside of permitted times to encourage a behavioural change from the contractors and to help reduce traffic disruption on Salford’s roads.

Helping to change behaviours through coring

In the City of Salford, there are around 8000 excavations from statutory undertakers every year. On behalf of the Council, following the completing of inspections, Urban Vision carry out highway coring on approximately 50% of these excavations.

In 2011, 80% of the core samples carried out on these excavations showed that the repair was not completed to the correct standards resulting in a fail. After completing core testing for the Council over a five year period, the failure rate has now dropped to 35% (in 2016).

This shows that utility companies have really changed their behaviours and are now completing the majority of repairs correctly on their first reinstatement visit.

In addition we work with utility companies and provide a regular update on their performance by use of bespoke statistical data and regular performance meetings. The utility companies use this data and adopt a pro-active approach to resolve any issues. They have not only invested in new materials which improve the longevity of the reinstatement and increase the likelihood of achieving the required specification, they are also investing in better training, management and equipment.

What are the benefits?

By introducing a thorough street works inspection and highway defects regime it has:

  • Helped to change the behaviour of utility companies by seeing a dramatic improvement in the quality of their repairs and adherence with working timescales, since introducing this service
  • Prevented costs to the Council in having to repair defects caused by inadequate utility repairs
  • Improved the quality of the roads across Salford.
  • Improved the reputation of the Council.