Agenda item

Scrutiny Review of Road Markings - 6 month update report

Report of the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport.


6.1       The Contract Manager, Highway Infrastructure Services introduced the report. He outlined the areas of focus for the review and the work undertaken with the Review Board. The scrutiny review was presented to Cabinet in November 2020 where the action plan, developed in response to the six recommendations of the review, was agreed by Cabinet ahead of approval by Full Council. The action plan, together with an update on the implementation of recommendations of the review, is contained in appendix 1 of the report.


6.2       The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services summarised the work that had been undertaken on the six recommendations:


  • Recommendation 1 was developed in response to the line of enquiry which looked at why some road markings wear out more quickly than others. The Team has explored the use of new materials for road markings and has started trials in a number of parts of the County using MMA which is an enhanced resin material which it is claimed to last up to 3 times longer than standard materials.
  • Recommendation 2 is to ensure Highway Stewards include road markings in their routine safety inspections. The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services is able to assure the Committee that this is consistently taking place.
  • Recommendation 3 concerns the work of utility companies and Highways England. The web site has been updated to include information on these organisations which also carry out work on the highway and their responsibilities.
  • Recommendation 4 – allocation of resources to road markings. The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services confirmed that the first priority for resources are safety critical road markings such as stop lines, centre line markings and pedestrian crossings. The allocation of funding for an additional road marking gang enabled 2,322 safety defect and road marking renewal jobs to be carried out over the last service year.
  • Recommendation 5. The Parking budget is now recharged with the cost of any significant road marking work carried by the highways team.
  • Recommendation 6. Unfortunately, there has not been any Government funding that could be used for road marking work since the review was completed. However, all safety critical road marking work has been undertaken, line marking refresh work has taken place and some capital works have also been carried out on a machine laid road marking programme. Expenditure on road markings over the last year has included: £165,000 in the core maintenance budget; around £200,000 on the additional road marking gang; and £400,000 on the machine laid capital works programme. It was clarified that a single gang is being used in the current service year and it is estimated that expenditure on road markings will be around £360,000. The implementation of the recommendation to increase the base budget for road markings in the highways contract will be looked at as part of the new highways contract which starts in May 2023.


6.3       The Chair invited Councillor Godfrey Daniel, who was Chair of the Review Board, to speak on this item. Councillor Daniel commented that the review was a good piece of targeted scrutiny work, which was well received by officers and the Cabinet Member. It demonstrates that scrutiny can have an impact on spending decisions and has helped improve road markings which are important for of road safety and the efficient movement of traffic. Road markings are also a very visible part of the highways maintenance service which demonstrates that the County Council cares about these issues. Councillor Daniel also commented on the condition of parking enforcement road markings and asked if it would be possible to establish a rolling programme of renewals since most were put in place when the various civil parking enforcement arrangements were introduced.


6.4       The Committee discussed the report and a summary of the comments made is given below.


6.5       Councillor Stephen Shing, who was also part of the Review Board commented that he also thought that it was a good review and is pleased with the progress that is being made on the recommendations.


6.6       The Committee asked what measures are in place to ensure road markings are laid onto sound road surfaces and whether there was a standard condition that the surface needed to be in before markings are applied or renewed. The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services responded that the Highway Steward will identify if the carriageway needs repairing before re-marking work can take place or will check the capital programme to see if resurfacing work is planned. There are some circumstances where road markings are temporarily re-instated before a larger piece of resurfacing work is undertaken.


6.7       The Committee asked if it was possible to estimate the cost benefits of improved road markings on road safety. The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services outlined that this is a question that would need to be put to the Road Safety Team, but the Council will always refresh or renew road markings where this has been flagged up by the Road Safety Team or as a consequence of a crash site investigation.


6.8       It was noted that the central line re-marking on some roads has been carried out in such a way that some markings have been overlaid, whilst others have been missed and are faded. The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services asked if the details of where this has happened could be passed either to himself or Ruby Brittle, Stakeholder and Engagement Manager, so it can be investigated.


6.9       The Committee discussed whether there was a need for a second road marking gang during the current year. The Contract Manager Highway Infrastructure Services commented that taking into account the capital programme and other road marking work being undertaken, one gang for the current year is reasonable. However, the amount of safety defect and refresh work needed will be reviewed during the year to see if additional resources are required.


6.10     It was clarified that once a review’s recommendations have been agreed by Full Council, an update report is brought to the Committee at roughly six and twelve month intervals after the adoption of the report to review the progress of implementing the recommendations. As part of the update work the Committee can decide if it wishes to undertake any further work on particular aspects of the review. A second update report on the Scrutiny Review of Road Markings is scheduled for the November meeting. 


6.11     The Committee RESOLVED to note the updates to the recommendations and action plan set out in Appendix 1 of the report.

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