The digger’s Highway Code

This article was published in 2002, in Newsletter 40.

Safety at Street Works and Road Works – a Code of Practice

This new Code comes into effect at the start of February and makes clear some of the obligations of contractors whilst undertaking operations on public roads.

A few relevant extracts should give an example of the nature of this document:

CYCLE LANES AND CYCLE TRACKS
Where cycle lanes, cycle tracks and cycle routes are affected by street works and road works you should use your best endeavours to ensure the safety of cyclists passing or crossing by the works.
Cycle lanes marked with a solid white line have been created by means of Traffic Regulation Orders. Where one of these is affected by planned works, your supervisor will need to discuss the situation with the highway authority well before the work starts. It may be necessary to obtain a Temporary Notice or Traffic Regulation Order to suspend the cycle lane.

This is not new but there have been a number of recent incidents in the Cambridge area where contractors have pleaded ignorance regarding this issue.

Wherever possible, a minimum lane width of 3.25 metres [11′] should be provided to allow a car to overtake a cyclist, more where lorries or buses will be present.

Perhaps if we had more road-works we might have better lane widths!

WORKS AT PEDESTRIAN AND CYCLE CROSSINGS
Only the highway authority can authorise a crossing to be taken out of service. Where appropriate, alternative signed routes should be agreed with the highway authority. If due to works the pedestrian or cycle crossing has to be closed, you should:
ensure the closure has been authorised by the highway authority
erect ‘Crossing not in use’ signs

I saw little evidence of these sort of actions when the two crossings of Trumpington Road were closed during the recent works.

If you see road works which you feel are unsafe or poorly signed it would be well worth looking at the full Code (http://www.street-works.dtlr.gov.uk/sasworks/). Quoting the relevant section at both contractors and those supervising them should result in swift action.

Jim Chisholm