Move to stop digging up of resurfaced roads

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NEW controls could be imposed to stop utility companies repeatedly digging up roads or carrying out roadworks on newly-laid surfaces.

Sheffield Council’s cabinet highways committee is expected to approve the city being part of a joint application with other councils around Yorkshire to the Government.

It would seek permission for a scheme where utility companies must apply for permits to work in the highway.

If approved, it will mean that where separate utility companies have projects for one section of road, their works happen as closely together as possible, with controls on companies wishing to dig up roads that have recently been resurfaced. Work on resurfaced roads could be restricted to emergencies only.

Simon Green, Sheffield Council executive director responsible for transport, said: “The scheme will help to reduce disruption caused by road and street works. It will provide an important tool to officers managing the highways PFI scheme to resurface all Sheffield’s roads.”

The cost is set to be covered by fees charged to utility companies for permits.

Sheffield Council said its consultation received 18 positive comments, from groups including police and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. There were 17 opposing the scheme.

A further 151 comments were received, mainly from utilities seeking points of clarification, the council added.

A survey found Sheffield motorists spend an average of 59 hours a year delayed at roadworks.