Stakeholder perspectives of street works management in England

It is widely recognised that street works are disruptive, have high social costs and are deleterious to highway structures. Notwithstanding this, utility works are critical so that society can enjoy the amenities of a modern world. In striking this balance, this study investigates the policy landscape of street works management in England to gain an insight into stakeholder perspectives of the industry. Semi-structured interviews with industry stakeholders have helped to identify the complexity of the industry and revealed that a number of issues compromise effective street works management. Principal problems include Street Authorities failing to take enough ownership of the coordination process, highway legislation not encouraging joint working due to inherent challenges arising from reinstatement guarantees, and entrenched attitudes and adversarial practices in the construction industry encouraging silo working. Key recommendations include amending highway legislation to support and recognise multi-agency working and Street Authorities undertaking reinstatements on behalf of undertakers to help reduce fragmentation and discharge undertakers of onerous guarantees which contribute to silo working.