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Roadworks information and who to contact

In this article

Whilst roadworks need to happen to maintain roads, pavements, 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 use to allow us to meet our network management duties.

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 a given 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

Promoters 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.

We are not responsible for works on private roads.

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Co-ordinating works

Approving works

There is a common misconception that the council "approves" works and all works are our responsibility, but this is not the case, promoters are responsible for the works they do and we cannot stop them from happening. With best endeavours, we co-ordinate and facilitate the works of all promoters.

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Notification to us

Utility companies in particular are currently required to serve notice as required by legislation, and we co-ordinate their works alongside highway maintenance and private works through the checking of notices sent and received on a daily basis.

Most work is planned ahead and a period of advance notice is given. 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 following shortly after.

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When works can start

The amount of notice required before certain works start is dependant on the duration or the impact, particularly that of utility companies. With our agreement, occasionally we may permit works to start sooner than the normal notice period allows, should the road network be able to accommodate it.

We can direct a works promoter to work at another time or delay starting, if it will minimise disruption to traffic and pedestrians.

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Duration of works

Extensions to the duration of works are also permitted, should a promoter be unable to complete their work in the initial timeframe. The expectation remains that promoters make reasonable attempts to complete their works as quickly and as safely as possible.

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The working day and inactivity at roadworks

Sometimes, works promoters need more time to carry out their work and can request that we consider extending the duration of works.

The normal working day is classed as usually being between the hours of 8am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday. Work at any other time is considered extra and at the discretion of a works promoter. We can request this should we wish to see work completed quicker.

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 to approve an extension.

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Notification to you

It is the responsibility of a promoter to carry out consultation and engagement with affected parties, and they should do this out of courtesy, but this isn't a requirement for all works and is largely an expectation.

You should normally always be contacted if access to your premises/property will be affected, or if there is likely to be some other disruption, like noise. Otherwise, all planned and current works are published on our roadworks map, we 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 directly.

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Minimising disruption caused by roadworks

As Traffic Authority, our position is to 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 a Promoter, should we have the relevant permission to.

Promoters are encouraged to consider the type of roads they are working on, all road users that will be affected including pedestrians and those with a disability and the volumes of traffic, and to carry out their works safely and appropriately - which is largely covered by legislation.

With planned works - should we consider proposals inappropriate when reviewing them, we may request a change to the timings that works take place, which could include directing overnight working or at weekends, during term-time or avoiding school holidays; or propose amendments to traffic management plans, if there is a need to mitigate against patterns of likely disruption.

Inevitably there are going to be some works 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 do cause a problem is negligible. However, 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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Contact information for works promoters

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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