These are the main types of maintenance undertaken by a highway authority.
Reactive or safety
Immediate or short-term response to hazards that could compromise safety and require rapid intervention. Funding is gathered from revenue.
Routine or cyclical
Programmed works that maintain the asset in a steady state such as gulley cleansing; or provide for replacement, cleaning or refurbishment such as street lighting lamps. Funding is gathered from revenue.
Planned works that enhance the life of the asset by preventing further deterioration. This is usually for surface issues such as crack sealing or large-scale patching. Funding is gathered from revenue and capital.
Planned works that re-construct or substantially repair the asset such as surfacing carriageways or replacing lighting columns. Funding is gathered from capital.
Planned and reactive treatments to prevent or remove ice, frost or snow. Funding is gathered from revenue.
Resilience and emergencies
Preparation, planning and response to emergency situations (e.g. flooding, sink holes). Funding is usually gathered from revenue.
Planned maintenance for roads, pavements and cycleways is carried out in accordance with the risk-based approach set out in Brighton & Hove City Council’s Asset Management Strategy. The medium-term strategy is to make effective use of available capital budgets to hold back decline in the condition of the major road network whilst investing in preventative treatments to secure longer term benefits for the unclassified roads.
Given the unprecedented financial challenges for local authorities, the available revenue budgets for highway maintenance, as for other council services, have substantially reduced over the last 10 years. A risk-based approach is therefore an essential method for prioritising maintenance schemes. Brighton & Hove City Council has reviewed and revised its Highway Maintenance guidance documents in accordance with the Code of Practice.
Revenue funding annually is directed towards:
- a repair regime for vehicle safety barriers
- repairing loss of skid resistance levels at critical locations
- repairing drainage infrastructure that is causing localised flooding incidents
- joint and crack sealing of carriageways to prevent wholesale water ingress that will cause further damage such as potholes.
Capital funding is used for maintenance treatments to minimise the risk of sudden failure on roads and pavements that carry the greatest amount of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, including HGVs and buses. These treatments usually involve resurfacing of sections of the carriageway or footway. As with revenue funding, the capital maintenance programme is tailored annually according to funding assigned through the Local Transport Plan.
Integrated transport schemes funded through capital grants may also include renewal of pavements and carriageway surfacing – for example, the Edward Street Better Bus scheme.
Safety repairs are an inevitable part of the lifecycle of carriageway, footways and cycleways. These repairs are typically restricted to defects such as potholes, uneven slabs and uneven tarmac. They do not include the areas surrounding the defect showing signs of general deterioration or risk factors that may give rise to safety defects in future.
Previous Codes of Practice set national standards for the inspection and repair of safety defects. However, the Code of Practice for Well Managed Highway Infrastructure requires local authorities to develop local guidance based on evaluation of local risk factors.
- setting the frequency of routine safety inspections for each street in the city
- setting guidelines for the levels at which potential safety defects will be investigated
- setting defect categories to determine type and timing of any repairs required
- documenting any exceptions and reasons for this.
Brighton & Hove City Council has therefore undertaken a thorough review of its Highway Safety Inspection regime. Based on evaluation of several factors that affect risk on the public highway network, inspection frequencies have been revised and local levels for investigation and repair of safety defects have been established
Due to the number of changes required by the Code of Practice 2016, Brighton & Hove City Council has produced a separate policy for Safety Maintenance, which will be a principal document in the defence of third party liability claims.
Brighton & Hove City Council has an approved Winter Service Plan which documents its strategy and operational procedures for dealing with winter weather conditions. Gritting routes cover all main routes and all bus routes within the city. A priority network for operating under extreme conditions has been identified, which concentrates resources on the most urgent thoroughfares in the city. The Winter Service Plan was reviewed following the severe winters of 2009/2010 in consultation with the public via a Scrutiny Panel and with emergency services and other organisations through the Sussex Resilience Forum and Transport Partnership and in partnership with neighbouring authorities.
Resilient network and emergency planning
The council’s resilient network is part of the network hierarchy and identifies critical highway infrastructure where failure could cause severe disruption to the functioning of the city. The resilient network is based on the priority network for winter gritting and encompasses the major routes through the city.
In defining the resilient network, consideration was given to other elements of local transport policy and strategy wherever possible, including supporting economic growth, regeneration, emergency services, walking and cycling, bus routes, travel planning, routes to stations and other interchange facilities. Consultation was undertaken with transport operators and the Resilience Forum, and the resilient network is a key part of the asset management investment strategy.
The Highway Asset & Engineering Manager is part of the council’s Emergency Planning group, where scenarios are regularly tested, and works closely with the Flood Prevention Officer. Emergency plans have been drawn up for flooding incidents in specific locations such as Patcham.