Keeping Somerset’s roads safe during the coronavirus emergency

Highways maintenance teams across Somerset will be stepping up works to keep highways safe for the NHS, emergency services, delivery vehicles and other essential workers travelling across the county.

Somerset County Council, like most local authorities, scaled back some routine highways maintenance, except emergency works, following the introduction of social distancing measures in response to the coronavirus emergency.

The Government has since released updated guidance for construction activity stating that it should continue where it fits with both the current Public Health England requirements and in accordance with industry safety guidance.

Following this advice, Somerset County Council will now continue with most planned maintenance works.

Cllr John Woodman, Cabinet Member for Highways at Somerset County Council, said: “Highways maintenance teams have been identified by the Government as critical workers due to the vital importance of keeping our roads open. We’re pleased that works have resumed, and we can do our bit to keep the road and path networks safe and maintained both for keyworkers during lockdown, and for all users when we come out the other side.

“These are unprecedented times and safety is paramount so we’re carefully considering how to complete the works safely and effectively. We are working closely with Skanska UK, our main maintenance contractor and will ensure all teams are following advice from Public Health England with regards to social distancing measures.

“We ask that you please be considerate to our workforce, they are working within the guidelines laid out by the Government for construction works to ensure that Somerset’s highways are safe.”

Works being carried out include:

  • Resurfacing – extensive works to remove and replace an old road surface.
  • Surface dressing – a technique to restore roads which are structurally sound to reduce risk of potholes forming.
  • Grass cutting – verge maintenance to preserve visibility for drivers (not grass cutting in parks or urban areas).
  • Street lighting
  • Other maintenance works such as patching, line painting or sign repairs.
  • Key safety works such as repairing potholes will continue as before.

For more information on maintenance works and to stay up to date visit our website or follow @TravelSomerset on Twitter.