Well Managed Highway Infrastructure

The Code of Practice ‘Well Managed Highway Infrastructure’ (WMHI) provides guidance to councils regarding the management and maintenance of local roads.  We follow this guidance as best practice to deliver an efficient and effective service.

On 4th February 2020, Cabinet considered the adoption of a number of recommendations outlined in WMHI. The specific recommendations related to Highway Safety Inspections, Winter Service and The Resilient Network.

Network Hierarchy

A Network Hierarchy prioritises areas of the network by importance for example, their expected use, resilience and economic and social factors including industry, schools, hospitals. This moves us away from the traditional prioritisation of the network by road classification i.e. A, B and C etc. Our network hierarchy splits roads into categories in terms of importance:

  • resilient network 
  • strategic network
  • main distributor
  • secondary distributor
  • link roads
  • local access roads

Resilient network

A resilient network consists of the most important routes in the borough in terms of connectivity and accessibility. It 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

We used our network hierarchy to update the frequency of our current safety inspections based on risk.

We have replaced intervention levels with investigatory levels. Before, we treated defects at the specific intervention level. Now we assess the defects at the investigatory level to determine the risk they pose to the public.

We have revised our response times to defect repairs.

Winter and adverse weather

Councillors 'called-in' the decision to adopt the winter service aspects of the recommendations following the Cabinet meeting on 4th February 2020.

Our Environment, Regeneration and Overview Scrutiny Committee discussed the call-in on 16 March 2020.  Cabinet made a recommendation at a meeting on 5 May 2020, ‘To undertake a further round of streamlined consultation on the winter service element only as part of the annual review of the Well Managed Highways Infrastructure annual review process;

We consulted all council members, Area Highway Group chairs, all schools, cycling groups, town and parish councils and emergency services between 11 September 2020 and 20 November 2020. We received 129 responses. We considered all of the comments and feedback and produced the finalised winter treatment network. 

Previously the winter service was delivered in accordance with the older guidance provided by 'Well Maintained Highways'. 

We developed our approved winter treatment network using our network hierarchy and a risk-based approach considering 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.

We have risk assessed each section of highway within the borough in line with the risk assessment pro-forma. We have identified 1043 km out of 2700km (38%) of the highway network that needs routine winter treatment.

This approach ensures a uniform and consistent approach across the network.  

We have added 103km of previously untreated roads to the winter treated network. 892 km of previously treated roads remain on the winter treated network.  We have removed 230km of previously treated roads from the treated network.

We have shown the changes on maps for each town:

We will retain the services of farm contractors, who in times of more extreme weather we may ask to undertake winter maintenance to specific routes in the high east of the borough.

Grit bins

We will assess the provision of grit bins 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.