Shropshire Council

Highways Safety Inspection review

  • Period: 26 July 2018 - 23 August 2018
  • Status: Open
  • Audiences: Everyone
  • Topics: Highways maintenance
  • Type: Public

Shropshire Council is seeking views on its proposals to update its approach to Highway Safety Inspections, and associated activities.

In order to support this consultation, we have summarised the key changes to the approach. This consultation response form is designed for members of the public to complete. The information you provide will help us to better align our management of the highway network with risk and usage levels.

Please note: This consultation will focus upon the contents of the proposed draft Highway Inspection Policy, Highway Inspection Code of Practice and the consultation document. Details of these can be found here... 

 

 

Highway Safety Inspections:
Introduction to the consultation

An explanation of the key changes to the Council’s approach to highway safety inspections are provided below:

Formal adoption of a risk-based approach

Shropshire Council has used a robust risk-based approach to highway safety inspections for many years. The Code of Practice recommends that a risk-based approach is adopted for all highway maintenance activities. The Highway Safety Inspection approach now formally reflects this recommendation by:

  • Continuing to operate a network hierarchy based on the function of the road rather than the class of road.
  • Forming inspection frequencies and responses to defects based on a robust understanding of risk.
  • Using a simple risk-based assessment for all defects which is aligned to the Council’s corporate approach to risk.

Through a robust understanding of risk, the Council is proposing the following improvements:

  • The network hierarchy is enhanced to enable risks on the network to be better managed. This enhancement has introduced new hierarchies that better reflect the risks on the more seldom used parts of the network.
  • Specific guidance for managers has been included that reflects the apparent risk on different types of footway surface.

Managing risk for all types of users

The revised approach to highway safety inspection includes enhancements which improves the management of risk on the highway.

  • The standard inspection frequency can be increased or reduced based on the risk present. This flexibility is intended to accommodate areas where there is significant use by vulnerable road users.
  • Areas of carriageway which are designed for use by pedestrians are explicitly treated as footways.
  • Clarification of the requirements on carriageways that form part of the signed cycle route.

Response categories

The categories have been updated to improve consistency from the perspective of the highway user and clarity when compared with national practice. There are two reactive responses (Immediate and Urgent) which are to be made or repaired within one day; planned responses can be completed within longer timescales. The following table presents the proposed changes.

Response Category

Current Response

Proposed Response

Immediate Response

within 24 hours

within 1 day

Urgent Response

within 24 hours

within 1 day

Planned Response (High Risk)

within 5 working days

within 7 days

Planned Response

within 20 working days

within 28 days

Planned Response (Low Risk)

within future works programme

risk-based response

 

An Immediate Response would be where failure to act would mean that the first person to pass by would be likely to come to harm and in such circumstances, the defect must not be vacated until such time that it is either made safe or repaired.

Definition of defects

The Code of Practice recommends that users’ reasonable expectations for consistency are taken into account. The approach of other local and strategic highway and transport authorities, especially those with integrated or adjoining networks, should be considered when developing highway infrastructure maintenance policies. Shropshire Council has a minimum intervention level for a defect of 25mm for carriageways and 10mm for footways. Most highway authorities use a minimum investigatory level of either 40mm or 50mm for defects on the carriageway and 20mm or 25mm for defects on the footways and cycleways. Shropshire Council’s investigatory levels are typically lower than those used in other highway authorities in the UK. It is proposed to maintain the minimum investigatory level for carriageways and introduce a minimum investigatory level of 20mm for footways and cycleways. The adoption of these minimum investigatory level:

  • Ensures that users expectations of consistency have been taken into account, and
  • Will allow limited resources to be better targeted to deal with risk on the network.

Response times

Following an analysis of risk on the network, the calculated risk on Strategic Routes for a 7 day response was not significantly different to the calculated risk on Main Distributor or Secondary Distributor roads which already permits a response in 7 days (5 working days). The current regime requires that defects greater than 50mm on Strategic routes were made safe or repaired within 24 hours. Such obligations force a reactive response that does not support the Council’s asset management policy for a sustainable network that minimises cost over time. A longer planned response would permit repairs to be done ‘right first time’. It is proposed to align the response for Strategic Routes with the response on Main Distributor and Secondary Distributor roads.

The analysis of risk on urban Link Roads and urban Local Access Roads showed that a standard response time of 28 days produced a calculated risk which was comparable with the calculated risk on other main roads using a 7 day response time. For rural roads, the calculated risk was lower and could have justified a longer response time; however, it is proposed to maintain the standard response to 28 days for these roads and review this in the future. The proposals also address the apparent anomaly that, on rural link roads, a 50mm pothole has the same response time as a 100mm pothole.

The analysis of risk for footways suggests that the majority of the current response times are appropriate and should be maintained. The apparent risk associated with local access footways is lower than other parts of the footway network; however, it is proposed to maintain the standard response to 7 days for these footways and review this in the future.

The response to the most dangerous defects (such as potholes greater than 150mm) remain unaffected and notwithstanding the overall risk-based approach to highway safety inspection which allows each defect to be assessed for risk to define the most appropriate response.

 

Current

Proposed

>100mm

>50mm

>25mm

>100mm

>50mm

>25mm

Strategic Route

Urban

24 hours

24 hours

5 w days

1 day

7 days

28 days

Rural

24 hours

24 hours

5 w days

1 day

7 days

28 days

Main distributor

Urban

24 hours

5 w days

20 w days

1 day

7 days

28 days

Rural

24 hours

5 w days

20 w days

1 day

7 days

28 days

Secondary Distributor

Urban

24 hours

5 w days

20 w days

1 day

7 days

28 days

Rural

24 hours

5 w days

20 w days

1 day

7 days

28 days

Link Road

Urban

24 hours

5 w days

20 w days

7 days

28 days

Risk.

Rural

5 w days

5 w days

Prog.

7 days

28 days

Risk.

Local Access Road

Urban

24 hours

5 w days

Prog.

7 days

28 days

Risk.

Rural

5 w days

20 w days

Prog.

7 days

28 days

Risk.

 

 

Current

Proposed

>20mm

>10mm

>20mm

Primary Walking Route

24 hours

20 w days

1 day

Secondary Walking Route

5 w days

Prog.

7 days

Link Footway

5 w days

Prog.

7 days

Local Access Footway

5 w days

Prog.

7 days

Cycle Lane

5 w days

20 w days

7 days

Cycle Path

5 w days

20 w days

7 days

w days = working days
Prog. = within a future works programme
Risk. = risk-based response

You can give us your feedback on this review by completing our survey.

Go to the survey »

Data protection

Information collected in our surveys will only be used by us (Shropshire Council) to inform the immediate and future provision of our services. The information you provide will be kept confidential in accordance with our Privacy Policy. It will not be shared outside of Shropshire Council. Information collected via our online surveys (hosted on the Surveymonkey website) will be stored on SurveyMonkey’s servers in the United States of America and SurveyMonkey gives an undertaking never to disclose the survey questions or your responses to others without permission.