Considerately maintaining Dorset’s highways – The Dorset Highways Term Service Contract (HTSC)
Dorset County Council’s highways service are responsible for the maintenance of the county’s network of roads, cycle ways, bridleways and bridges, in partnership with Hanson as HTSC. This 12 year partnership has fully embraced the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) in its highway maintenance operations.
Dick Smeeth, HTSC’s Project Liaison Manager has commented on the Scheme:
‘The Scheme is simple, straightforward and helpful in all aspects. Dorset County Council is totally committed to providing and maintaining an excellent service to customers and the travelling public at all times.’
While emergencies such as fallen trees, flooding and RTA’s (Road Traffic Accidents) are dealt with as efficiently and effectively as possible, seasonal demands make the highway work varied and unpredictable. There are many unique challenges involved in maintaining Dorset’s highways and byways, with road workers working day and night, in high risk areas, with the public travelling through live sites.
Mr Smeeth further commented on how the Scheme had been integrated into highway maintenance operations:
‘CCS principles have been embraced and are part of the partnership’s way of doing things. They are still being applied with enthusiasm and diligence to produce remarkable results. The culture ensures that the depot and the sites are always clean, neat and tidy and the workforce well-presented and well behaved.’
Here are some examples of best practice initiatives carried out by the Dorset Highways Term Service Contract:
- Comprehensive inductions, monthly meetings, tool box talks and writing requirements into contracts ensures each subcontractor and operative knows what is expected in the way of cleanliness and tidiness.
- A comprehensive annual works programme was maintained and regularly reviewed to ensure stakeholders and local communities’ needs were met.
- It had been identified that members of the public most often complained about the lack of notification of works, to offset these complaints, the site utilised statutory notifications: local newspapers, letter drops and website updates to notify the public before commencing all short-run remedial or improvement works.
- The HTSC team made a conscious effort to engage with the local community by hosting school visits and sponsoring Weymouth Carnival safety barriers.
- They also supported the Pilsdon Community, a small charity farming community which offers refuge for homeless people in crisis.
- To harmonise works, Dorset highways worked closely with other stakeholders and public utilities operators, making contact with the Environment Agency, Natural England and the National Trust, to minimise disruptions, inconvenience and ensure compliance of works.
- Due to the nature of highway work being varied and unpredictable, the dangers posed were continually and effectively publicised to increase awareness and minimise the number of injuries and fatalities within the sector.
- Following some potentially dangerous incidents where operatives may have been threatened by the public, a VideoBadge recording system was implemented to support parking attendants. The ID badges had an attached video camera which was worn on the body and could record eight hours of continuous audio and video, for use as evidence in case of any altercations with the public.
- All staff attended regular training days and monthly team briefings, where operational updates were provided by senior management.