Maintenance masterplan opened up

July 13 2018  

Software and clever thinking are helping to better manage roadworks in an effort to reduce disruption on the strategic highway network.
Every one of Highways England’s planned road maintenance schemes for the next three years is now available in a digital, visual format for all of its staff to see. Mapping software developed by technology firm Esri UK allows teams to review all schemes set to take place along a route or in a particular geographic area to identify whether works can become better coordinated.
Highways England’s intelligence and performance lead Chris Spencer says: “Historically we have had a bit of an issue with silo working with directorates for operations, roads investment and Smart Motorways developing their own separate programmes of work for the next few years. There was never one definitive platform listing all schemes and it was not visualised in GIS format before.”
Now, he says, schemes listed on the database can be highlighted on a map to clearly show which other schemes are planned nearby and who is responsible for them. This means that managers can more easily discuss how the projects they are responsible for may affect each other.
In the South East, managers in Area 3 responsible for highway maintenance identified 30 opportunities in one year where schemes could be paired up for delivery at the same time or where certain works may no longer be necessary. On one motorway scheme plans to repaint white lines were scrapped after it was found that another project would very soon be carried out on the same stretch of road, meaning the lining would otherwise have to be redone.
“Not only are we saving money but avoiding the own goals of doing work twice,” Chris adds. “By avoiding these sorts of scenarios we are helping to ease congestion.” 
Elsewhere a highway manager on the A404 used the system to identify other schemes taking place nearby that would benefit his original proposal, which allowed him to cancel his scheme, saving money and roadworks.
The technology can also be used by Highways England’s correspondence teams responding to enquiries from the public. More comprehensive and readily available detail about future schemes allows members of the public to be given better information about planned work.

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