Utilities roadworks explained

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Why utility companies work on our roads

Water, gas, electric, or telecom companies often put in requests to work on Surrey's roads. These companies have the right to do this work by law, and the council cannot prevent the work from taking place.

Surrey County Council is responsible for reducing the disruption caused by these roadworks. We do this by managing when and where these works take place through our Permit Scheme. The utility companies are responsible for undertaking the work safely and following rules, but we don't directly supervise them. Instead, we check how well the companies do these works by inspecting some of the works they do.

The guidance on how many works are inspected is laid down by the Department for Transport (DfT). This depends on a lot of factors. However, we go a step further by conducting additional inspections beyond the DfT's requirements to keep our road network running efficiently.

How we avoid disruption during the works

Sometimes, we work with utility companies to plan bigger projects. We try to find ways to make the work less disruptive, communicate well with people affected by the work (for example, the residents), and avoid clashes with other projects happening at the same time. We also look for ways for multiple utility companies to work together at the same time.

The utility companies are responsible for managing traffic and keeping everyone safe during their work. This includes measures like ensuring the safety of workers and pedestrians, managing deliveries, waste removal, and minimising noise and dust.

Utility companies works on busy roads

Some requests for works by utility companies are easier to manage than others. When works take place in busy locations, sometimes the disruption is unavoidable. We work with the utility companies to find solutions to these problems.

Since April 2021, we have been charging utility companies for works that cause congestion on the busiest roads through our Lane Rental Scheme.

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