North Yorkshire County Council’s street works team is toughening up its inspections of work carried out on roads and footways by utility companies and private individuals.
The aim is to ensure that the reinstatement of the road after such work meets the required standard of materials and construction, so protecting the quality of the highway network.
The street works team has always carried out visual inspections of highways reinstated after work by utilities, such as energy and telecoms companies, and licensed private works in the streets, but now it is extending this to inspect core samples from reinstated roads.
A core sample will be taken from a random selection of reinstated roads across the county, enabling the team to glean information about the materials and construction of the reinstatement that the visual inspection alone cannot provide. If work is found to fall below the required standard, the company involved will have to do remedial work to bring it up to standard.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “This bolstering of our current practice of visual inspection is another way in which we can ensure that our road network, which extends to more than 5,500 miles, is repaired and maintained to the correct standard for the benefit of all road users.
“Up to now, about one in ten reinstatements has failed the visual inspection. In the short-term, we expect our more rigorous inspection regime may lead to more defects being found, but we are confident that in the longer term it will drive up standards, improve competence and protect the longevity of our roads.
“Often, potholes and other damaged areas on our highways are caused by inadequate reinstatement after excavation. The new coring regime will address this.”
The authority began core inspections this month. Some other authorities around the country take a similar approach, but North Yorkshire is one of the few to undertake this work in-house, giving the authority full control of how inspections are carried out. There are about 20,000 utility and licensed works each year in North Yorkshire. The council’s team will core about 2,500 sites a year.