County council says innovative approach to road maintenance is alive and kicking
Nottinghamshire County Council has a strong record of innovation when it comes to maintaining the county’s roads, writes Coun Gordon Wheeler. Innovation allows the council to make use of new materials, ways of working and technologies to improve the highway services it provides and the value for money they offer, benefiting county residents.
This council had a strong history of innovation whilst it delivered its own highways services and this has continued since Via East Midlands began managing Nottinghamshire’s roads in 2016.
One case in point is the way drains at the side of the roads are now cleaned. As a council, we used to clean each of them every 12 months on a rota. But through the collection of data, councillors and council officers were able to understand how quickly every drain fills and blocks in Nottinghamshire, allowing the council to prioritise cleaning at the locations which needed more frequent attention. This has resulted in less complaints from residents and it’s reduced the times needed to clear drains in an emergency which is a great breakthrough. And because the council has become more efficient, it can devote more time to carrying out additional drain maintenance that pays long-term dividends.
The drain cleaning team even won an award for this innovation. Electronic works management has been introduced to some of the council’s lighting and maintenance teams, allowing them to work smarter by not only to reacting more quickly to problems, but also providing instant updates to residents on any issues they have reported. The council is also looking into the feasibility of carrying out its own temporary traffic management through Via for when there are road works, rather than contracting it out as currently happens. Councillors think this approach has potential to provide savings of 25 per cent.
This would allow gangs to fully manage the traffic and related roadworks and potentially reduce response and clear up times at incidents.
This service could also be extended to external customers as a potential further source of income for the council. The council also recently announced that it would spend £1.75 million investing in innovative equipment which will speed up and increase the range of options to repair the roads. This will save more money further down the line, improving the quality of road repairs, increasing productivity and extending the life expectancy of roads. These innovations demonstrate this council’s ongoing commitment to investing in, and improving, Nottinghamshire’s roads.
Last year, the council set up a £20 million cash pot be spent over a four-year period.
To report a problem on any of Nottinghamshire’s roads and pavements, visit the website at www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/transport/roads