Street work policy in England, UK: insights from stakeholders

Road works and street works can be highly disruptive, expensive and deleterious to highway structures and infrastructure planning, yet these activities must take place if modern societies are to continue to function. In helping to strike this balance, this study investigates the public policy landscape of highway excavation management in England. Semi-structured interviews with industry stakeholders highlighted the complexity of the industry and revealed that a number of issues compromise effective management. Principal problems included 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, thus helping to reduce fragmentation and discharge undertakers of onerous guarantees which contribute to silo working.