The problem of the gas board digging up the street one week only for the water board to dig it up again as soon as the gas board has backfilled is a well-known and long established problem.
Local authorities have several tools in their armoury to help coordinate the utilities, including licensing powers under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.
Now they also have a guidebook, thanks to consulting engineer Atkins and its partners on a pilot scheme.
The book shares lessons learned from a pilot scheme in Croydon that prevented nearly 100 days of road disruption and provided an estimated saving to the local economy of £678,000. The handbook provides a guide for teams in local authorities and utilities looking to set up a similar scheme.
The Collaboration Handbook is described as a guide to help local authorities better coordinate the delivery of utilities infrastructure. Produced with a team including the London Borough of Croydon, Thames Water, SGN and Fluxx, the handbook addresses how to coordinate the delivery of infrastructure to reduce the number of highway disruptions.
Atkins digital director Guy Ledger said: “The publication of this handbook comes at a critical time when our cities are rapidly growing, and the impact of this growth is acutely felt on our roads, and by road-users, as more and more street works are undertaken to accommodate it. We knew that if utility companies and local authorities worked more closely together, we could reduce the need to close roads and the frequency of projects – saving countless hours of disruption and millions of pounds. This handbook will help local authorities across the UK better coordinate their road works with utility companies.”