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Roadworks information

We use legislation and government guidelines to manage and co-ordinate roadworks.

Companies who can undertake work on the highway 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
  • agencies like Royal Mail, Network Rail and the Environment Agency
  • 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 works they undertake when they are digging in the road or will affect pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

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

What to expect at sites of roadworks

There is a national code of practice which anyone setting out or working at roadworks should comply with.

As a road user, you should expect roadworks sites to be safe, with clear instructions about exactly what is required of you to pass through the site safely. Site managers must also pay particular attention to the needs of disabled people and should also consider other vulnerable groups such as elderly people, children and those with push chairs.

Dorset Council inspects roadworks sites to ensure compliance, but due to the number of works that take place, we can only inspect a sample. If you believe there to be a problem at a site of roadworks, please tell us.

Notification of works

It is not a requirement that all parties be notified of all works that take place.

Out of courtesy, anyone carrying out work on the road should use best endeavours to notify affected parties of their work, particularly if a utility will be affected. This might be directly by letter drop, or by placing of advance warning signs before works start.

Access during road closures

  • access should be maintained to and from residences, businesses, schools, healthcare services and so on, as appropriate and access should 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
  • signed diversions may not follow the most obvious and "convenient" route - the diversion has to follow roads of the same classification. Locals may know other alternative routes better suited to their journey and may choose to use them instead. 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.
  • the promoter responsible for the road closure is expected to notify all residences, businesses and services immediate affected by the road closure. Should you have reason to think you'll be directly affected by a road closure and haven't been notified, please contact the organisation 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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