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Roadworks and Highway Works

What are roadworks or street works?

Street works are works carried out to the utility services that are located within public highways, as opposed to works which are carried out for the benefit of the road or footpath users, which are known as "works for road purposes".

Street Works are carried out by "statutory undertakers" (formerly known as public utilities) such as gas, water, telecom, cable TV & electricity companies. These companies have a legal right to install and maintain apparatus in a public highway.

The legislation that covers this area is the New Roads & Street Works Act 1991 and the Traffic Management Act 2004. Further information on Street Works can be obtained from the government’s Department for Transport web site.

What is the Council’s role?

The Council has a duty to co-ordinate works carried out in the highway and in the words of the Traffic Management Act 2004 to secure "the expeditious movement of traffic" (so far as is reasonably practicable). The term "traffic" includes pedestrians. The Council is a member of the North of England Highway Authorities Utilities Committee and liaises with the statutory undertakers via quarterly meetings to discuss programmes of work. On important street works projects the Council holds regular and frequent progress meetings to help minimise possible disruption and inconvenience to the public.

Street Works Register

The Council maintains a Street Works Register that contains information on all utility works and Council schemes.

What is the New Roads and Street Works Act (NRSWA) 1991?

This act defines the responsibilities and obligations of local authorities and statutory undertakers (also referred to as 'utility companies') when works are carried out on the public highway.

Who are statutory undertakers?

Organisations licensed by the government to dig holes in roads, verges, footways (pavements) under the NRSWA 1991.  This includes all the well known utilities – gas, electricity, water, BT, cable television, - as well as other telecommunication companies.  The objectives of the act are:

  • to ensure safety

  • to minimise inconvenience to users of the road and footway network, especially the disabled

  • to protect the structure of the street scene, particularly its apparatus

Statutory undertakers must inform local authorities of their planned works on the public highway.  The period of notice that must be given to local authorities before such works can commence, depends on the magnitude, nature and location of individual schemes.  For emergency works, local authorities should be notified no later than 2 hours after work has begun.

What power does the Council have over statutory undertakers' works?

Local authorities have the power to monitor and co-ordinate all such works, but do not directly manage the workings of statutory undertakers.  Restrictions as to the time of certain works can be imposed e.g. to minimise traffic congestion on important roads during peak hours.  Planned works are normally precluded in residential areas between late evening and early morning.  Section 58 of the act enables local authorities to prevent statutory undertakers from carrying out planned excavations within 12 months of roads / footways having been resurfaced or re-laid.  Some exceptions are permitted in the case of safety and emergency works or supplies to new premises.

Can the Council levy penalties for late completion of works?

Yes.  Local authorities have the legal right, under section 74 of NRSWA, to impose a penalty on statutory undertakers who fail to complete their works on time, unless approval has been given to extend the time-scale.  The size of the penalty can range from £100 to £2000 per day.

How do you know which statutory undertaker is carrying out works?

Statutory undertakers are required to display courtesy boards where they are working.  These boards should display contact telephone numbers and, in some cases, the name of the person who will assist in dealing with enquiries.

Does the Council inspect these works?

Yes.  Approximately 30% of these works are inspected by officers of the Council at differing stages of progress.  Any defects that come to light are reported to the relevant statutory undertaker, so that the appropriate remedial action can be undertaken.

What if something goes wrong?

In extreme cases, local authorities may intervene.  Otherwise, statutory undertakers are obliged to conform to a Code of Practice for the site safety of all the schemes they are responsible for.  For works carried out by statutory undertakers, there is a minimum of two years guarantee period.  If the quality of the reinstatement work is found to have failed during this period, the statutory undertaker will be required to put it right.

Do the Council and statutory undertakers talk to one another?

Yes.  To assist in the co-ordination of works and to avoid digging up the same holes time and time again, regular requests are made to all statutory undertakers for details of their planned works.  Quarterly co-ordination meetings are also held with representatives of all statutory undertakers, as well as other interested parties.

My Dudley

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Find out about roadworks in your area

You can access the Dudley Council Street Works Register to get details of the current and planned road and street works across the borough.

Find out about roadworks in your area

Report a problem

If you have any concerns regarding works that are taking place on the road or highway, please use the Street Maintenance Form to report the problem.

Contact Details

  • Name Highways Maintenance
  • Address Environmental Management, Directorate of the Urban Environment, Lister Road Depot, Lister Road, Dudley, West Midlands, DY2 8JW
  • Telephone 0300 555 2345
  • Fax 01384 815402