365 days in the life of Gloucestershire’s roads
With 3,326 miles of road, 3,509 miles of public rights of way, 50,714 road signs, 100,000 gullies and 805 bridges in Gloucestershire, the county council is working 365 days a year.
Safety on the roads is a top priority for the county council and it is asking local people to report any issues as soon as possible.
With an extra £2.075 million being put into the highways budget from April, the council is calling on residents and businesses to report issues with roads, drains, footpaths and verges online at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/reportit so that work can be scheduled for repair.
The council’s ‘Highways Local’ scheme provides extra funding to each county councillor to spend on improving roads in their area. This year the amount each councillor receives will increase from £22,500 to £30,000 with an additional £7,500 for specific road maintenance.
Crews work in all weathers, all day, every day to keep Gloucestershire moving and regular inspections make sure our roads are monitored. However heavy rainfall, extreme temperatures, debris or spillages can change things overnight meaning urgent action is needed or work planned for the future.
When bad weather hits the county highways crews are ready to respond 24 hours a day, whether it’s Christmas morning, midnight on Easter or lunchtime on the hottest day of the year.
Last year there were 2,298 reported emergencies such as fallen trees, oil spillages and collapsed manhole covers, all of which were responded to within two hours.
Crews also assist the emergency services following road traffic collisions.
To protect our county through the wetter months 2,600m of culvert and 93,363 manholes are maintained, and crews work hard to keep more than 100,000 gullies clear.
Since the major floods in 2007 £48million has been invested in Gloucestershire to help prevent flooding, and each year ditches and watercourses are cleared to allow water to flow freely, further reducing the risk of flooding for residents and businesses.
In the winter months more than 1000 tonnes of grit is used to keep the county moving safely.
Last year 136 miles of roads were resurfaced and seven paving machines were brought in to reduce the back log. Over the summer months 60 miles of surface dressing was also completed.
Also during the summer, vegetation is cut back at junctions and roundabouts so that drivers have good visibility.
Crews are also called off the beaten track; the council looks after 52 footbridges over the highway, and in 2014 there were 2,007 issues reported on public rights of way, from broken stiles and padlocked gates to the clearance of fallen trees.
In 2015 the council trained 60 volunteers to join 400 ‘Cotswold Wardens’ and other Gloucestershire residents who help to maintain 3,509 miles of walks and many stiles and footbridges.
This year the council will also roll out it’s ‘Lengthsman’ scheme with three dedicated two-man highway gangs covering the whole county to carry out quick spot jobs such as cutting back vegetation, cleaning out gullies, cleaning road signs and tidying up footways.
Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways at Gloucestershire County Council, said, “Our highway crews work around the clock every day of the year to keep Gloucestershire safe and moving.
“We still need residents to tell us about any problems they find with the roads, drains, footpaths and verges so that we can plan repairs. It’s easy to assume someone else will have reported it already, but we’d rather hear several times than not at all. The best way to tell us is at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/reportit.
“For anyone on Twitter please follow @GlosRoads to find out what we’re working on at the moment and look out for the hashtag #highways365 to see how crews are working 365 days for you.”
Planned road works are also listed on the county council’s website at www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/roadworks.