Agenda item


This report gives the Panel an update on this issue.


The Panel considered a report regarding the costs of delivering highway safety infrastructure.  Gary Peacock, Deputy Group Manager, gave a presentation which covered the following issues:


·  Details of the traffic and highways service

·  Service dimensions

·  The process followed once a highway safety issues is identified

·  The transport improvement programme project delivery process

·  Project delivery safety schemes

·  Example of a scheme that has been implemented, including costings


A copy of the presentation slides is attached as Appendix 2 to these minutes.


Panel members raised the following points and asked the following questions:

(Officer responses shown in italics)


Cllr Warrington asked how the staff costs were calculated for each project. The officer explained that the cost of a scheme incorporates staffing costs based on hourly rates and that any work on a capital project is charged to that specific project.  There is also an uplift charge to include overheads such as management and office costs.


Cllr Hughes asked questions regarding the typical percentage of staffing costs, condition of pavements and the rights of utility companies to dig up roads and footways and their requirement to reinstate.   The officer confirmed that staffing costs on a scheme such as the Radstock scheme used as an example was likely to be about 16-17%.  This percentage would be reduced for larger capital schemes where staffing costs could reduce to around 8%.  Footways are the responsibility of the Highways Team, however, as safety critical schemes are given priority footways have not always received the attention they deserve.  Utilities Companies have the right to install apparatus and dig up roads and footways as necessary.  The Council can then ask them to reinstate the road/pavement to the national standard but cannot ask them to resurface the whole footway.


Cllr MacFie asked about the competitive bid process.  The officer explained that the competitive part of the bid is at the time of tender when tenders are compared commercially against each other.


Cllr Macfie also asked about contract lengths and about the metrics used when looking at contracts.  The officer explained that both the Volker and Dinneq contacts are for 5 years with an opportunity to extend.  The contract process operates on a regional basis throughout the West of England and this gives the ability to check rates against other authorities.


Cllr Hodge asked what percentage is charged on the staffing cost uplift and the process for making decisions on whether to install a zebra crossing or signal controlled crossing.  The officer stated that the uplift is 30+%.  This includes all overhead costs.  He stated that officers could look at the cost of providing pedestrian crossings in other local authority areas.  Several different metrics are used when making decisions on schemes including the police accident statistics and location (e.g. whether there is a school nearby), traffic speed and number of vehicles.  Decisions are based on safety and need rather than wholly on cost.  There is also a revenue cost implication when new pedestrian crossings are installed due to maintenance.  Signal controlled crossings have higher maintenance cost than zebra crossings.


Cllr Singleton asked how the budgeting process works and whether there is a budget for new schemes as some areas have now been identified for the liveable neighbourhoods project.  The officer explained that the scheme for Whitchurch was funded by Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds which were specifically ring fenced for that location.


Cllr Davis asked how Parish Council expectations can be managed as certain areas may be seen as having a safety issue, but these don’t necessarily have a high priority under the B&NES Council schemes.  In rural areas they often simply need small changes such as white lines on the roads and safety is an issue when there are no pavements.  The officer stated that this is a challenge and that social media can generate higher demand and expectation.  It is important to improve communications and to provide timely responses.  He also explained that officers are considering whether localised contacts would be helpful.


Cllr McCabe asked what proportion of projects are successful and which fail, also what happens to those projects which do not get accepted for the list.  The officer explained that the available funding does fluctuate.  The Department for Transport funding has remained fairly static over the last 5 years, however there is also CIL and Section 106 funding.  There are currently only 25-30 schemes on the list, but it is important to keep this to a manageable level and to be clear that only the top 8 or 9 schemes are likely to be funded.


Cllr Warrington asked about gully clearing and whether flood risk areas would be given a higher priority.  The officer confirmed that areas prone to flooding would have a higher priority and would be on the risk list.  He confirmed that the Council does want to increase the amount of gully emptying.


Cllr Warrington also asked about speed limits on narrow rural roads, as a lot of these have the national speed limit and there are often accidents and near misses.  The officer stated that there is an element of the programme looking at speed limits and that national criteria must be applied.  He acknowledged that there is high demand this year for the reduction of speed limits on these roads and that there are currently 8 or 9 areas which are on the list for consideration.  He agreed to send a copy of this list to members of the Panel.


The Chair thanked Gary Peacock for his presentation and the Panel NOTED the report.

Supporting documents: