Well Managed Highway Infrastructure
On 4 February 2020, Cabinet considered the adoption of the recommendations of Well Managed Highway Infrastructure relating to Highway Safety Inspections, The Resilient Network and Winter Service. The details of the approach to the amendment of these key areas of service which were outlined to Cabinet are provided below.
Well Managed Highway Infrastructure Code of Practice (WMHI) provides guidance to Highway Authorities relating to all aspects of highway maintenance and management. Although it is not a statutory requirement to comply with this code, it is recommended that it is adopted to demonstrate best practice and to provide a more efficient and effective service.
WMHI includes all highway maintenance activities and it recommends that a consistent approach is adopted. The Council has decided to begin the implementation of the guidance in a number of key areas:
- The Resilient Network
- Highway Safety Inspections
- Winter and Adverse Weather Policy
The Code recommends the development of a Network Hierarchy in order to prioritise areas of the network in accordance with their expected use, resilience and local economic and social factors such as industry, schools, hospitals etc. The approach recommended in The Code looks to move away from the traditional prioritisation of the network by road classification i.e. A, B and C etc.
The proposed Resilient Network consists of the most important routes in the Borough in terms of connectivity and accessibility and also includes the roads used by Highways England as Emergency Diversion Routes and Advanced Diversion Routes.
Highway Safety Inspection Code of Practice and Policy
Highway Safety Inspections
The proposed Network Hierarchy has been used to amend the current safety inspection frequencies in order to better address risk.
It is also proposed that the current intervention levels will be revised to investigatory levels. Under the current approach defects are actioned at the specific intervention level. Under the proposed approach defects are risk assessed at the investigatory level to determine the risk they pose to the public.
The proposed approach sees a revision to the response times to the repair of defects.
Winter and adverse weather
Currently the winter service is delivered in accordance with the guidance provided by Well Maintained Highways. The winter treatment network dates back to the days of Cheshire County Council and has developed during this time due to local requirements.
The proposed winter treatment network has been developed using a risk based process to take into consideration local risk factors including usage, local amenities, vulnerable users, public transport and local risks such as steep gradients, cold spots and other known local issues.
Each section of highway within the Borough has been risk assessed in line with the risk assessment pro-forma.
This approach ensures a uniform and consistent approach across the network.
As a result of the risk assessment process, 995km out of 2700km (37%) of the highway network has been identified as requiring routine winter treatment.
The proposed approach sees 103km of previously untreated roads added to the network. 892 km of previously treated roads remaining on the network and 230km of previously treated roads removed from the treated network.
The list of roads
Under the proposed approach the Council will retain the services of farm contractors, who in times of more extreme weather may be utilised to undertake winter maintenance to specific routes in the high east of the Borough.
The provision of grit bins will be assessed on a variety of factors including the gradient, proximity to bends and junctions, number of properties, and whether the road was previously included on a gritting route.