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Roadworks information and who to contact

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Roadworks need to happen to maintain roads, pavements, bridges, develop our villages and towns; and maintain our gas, water, electricity, phone and broadband connections. There are various pieces of  legislation and government guidelines that we can use to allow us to manage and co-ordinate these works.

Get in touch about roadworks

Should you observe any problems with roadworks like abandoned roadworks signs, failed reinstatements, inactivity on site, or concerning practises, you should contact us. Depending on the situation, sometimes charges can be incurred on works promoters.

If you wish to find out more about works being undertaken, then you should attempt to contact the promoter responsible for the works.

Get more information about roadworks taking place


If you don't know who to contact

If you don't know who to contact, submit a general enquiry and we will get back to you.

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Who can undertake work on the highway

Those parties who can undertake work on the highway are known as "promoters", and include:

  • utility companies - connecting and maintaining your gas, water, electric and telephone supplies. They are Statutory Undertakers who have the right to work in the highway to install, upgrade and maintain their apparatus
  • private contractors - which can include those working at sites of new developments, installing new utility apparatus before it is adopted or changing road layouts
  • highway maintenance - the council, or it's sub contractors carrying out routine maintenance or improvement works on its network

They are required to notify us of most of the works they undertake, and particularly when the road is dug up or there is traffic management placed in the road - like temporary lights.

Works on private roads needs the prior consent of the land owner(s).

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Notification of works

All works should be notified to us. Sometimes, work happens without our authorisation and in some cases financial penalties are incurred.

Those works that we are notified of are co-ordinated through the checking of notices and applications sent and received on a daily basis.

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When works can start

The amount of notice required before works start is dependant on the duration or the impact of work. This allows an opportunity for co-ordination around other works and events.

Occasionally, emergency works are required to put to an end a dangerous situation like a gas leak, burst water main or structural damage to the highway. Advance warning does not need to be given in these circumstances, and the work can start immediately, with a notification that works have started following shortly after.

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Duration of works

Those carrying out work on the road initially have to indicate an estimated end date, which are subject to change. Most works are completed easily within the initial duration. Requests for extensions to the duration of works are considered, should a promoter be unable to complete their work in the initial timeframe.

Promoters should make reasonable attempts to complete their works as quickly and as safely as possible within reasonable timeframes.

Should works continue past the estimated end date and an extension has not been agreed, then financial penalties may apply.

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The working day

The working day is considered as being between the hours of 8am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Work at any other time, including weekends and overnight is additional and not mandatory.

Whilst we can request longer working hours, it is at the discretion of a works promoter.

Unattended sites

Gone past and nobody working? Whilst there are often acceptable reasons why work sites are left unattended, even during the working day, reports about long periods of inactivity at work sites are useful as it helps us consider whether we should approve an extension.

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Roadworks and you

Notification to you

It is the responsibility of a promoter to engage with affected parties, and they should do this out of courtesy, but it isn't a requirement for all works.

You should be contacted if access to your premises/property will be affected, or if there is likely to be some other disruption, like noise. Dependant on the likely disruption, some works may have advance warning boards up in the days prior to work starting.

All planned and current works are published on our roadworks map. We may also give updates on works likely to cause notable disruption on Twitter @TravelDorset and through our travel disruptions feed which is updated 24 hours a day.

In emergency situations, you probably won't be notified personally as it will be more important to locate and start fixing the fault.

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Disruption caused by roadworks

As Traffic Authority, we can direct and advise at the planning and construction stage to help a promoter mitigate against disruption. We are not directly responsible for the work of third parties or the impact, and so complaints sent to us may be redirected to the Promoter, should we have the relevant permission to.

Promoters are encouraged to consider the type of roads they are working on, the volumes of traffic, all road users that will be affected including pedestrians and those with a disability.

With planned works - should we consider proposals in regards to the timing of works inappropriate, then we may request a change to when works take place if there is a need to mitigate against chances of disruption. This could include requesting overnight or weekend working, during term-time or school holidays, or proposing amendments to traffic management.

Inevitably, there are going to be roadworks which cause disruption and delay to your journey, but, given the 10s-of-thousands of jobs that take place on the road network every year, the number which actually do cause a problem is negligible. If you do experience disruption to your journey, you can report it to us.

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Access during road closures

When a road is closed:

  • access should be maintained to and from residences, businesses, schools, healthcare services etc. as appropriate and access will never be prohibited altogether. Any exceptional circumstances should be conveyed before works start
  • you cannot pass through a closed section of road from one end to the other on a normal journey, you should follow the diversion, which is normally signed. Locals will know other alternative routes and may choose to use them as opposed to the signed diversion. So long as they are used appropriately, any public highway can be used as an alternative
  • council services like rubbish and recycling collections, school transport, mobile libraries and social services, as well as emergency services and bus operators, are notified of planned road closures in advance so that they may make alternative arrangements for access. It is not possible to notify everyone who may affected by all road closures - should you have reason to think you'll be directly affected by a road closure, please contact the promoter responsible
  • due to the nature of most works requiring road closures, local access arrangements will largely depend on the operational situation on site at any one time and aren’t known in advance. Allow extra time for journeys in affected areas
    • those requiring access in to a section of closed road may have to wait a short time to pass, or may be redirected to approach from another direction, dependant on the current activity on site
    • operatives should be available at closure points who will be able to offer guidance on access arrangements

Should an active road closure not be operating in this matter, please contact us.

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