There are two types of roadworks that can happen on Kent’s roads – planned and emergency.
Emergency works will usually see utility companies or KCC Highways itself start work immediately and retroactively notify KCC. This could be, for instance, a burst water main, a gas leak or a void in the ground.
Planned works are applied for in advance and allow KCC to coordinate timing to avoid as much disruption to the county’s roads as possible.
When emergency works take place, KCC can impose conditions on the permit and review options to delay nearby planned works if it helps reduce congestion.
As the works are already in progress KCC cannot refuse this type of application but can still challenge the duration to reduce days of disruption if possible.
When applications for working on the highway are received, traffic sensitivity of the location and whether it is part of the Kent Lane Rental Scheme can also be considered so that the disruption is minimised.
The Kent Lane Rental Scheme charges companies a daily rate to make sure it is carried out in a less disruptive way.
Unlike the county’s permit scheme, its lane rental scheme only applies to selected roads.
As part of applying to KCC, companies must provide traffic management plans and these are reviewed by KCC and, if needed, mitigation conditions are implemented to prevent traffic being obstructed.
The time of the works will also be considered to ensure it is a reasonable period to allow works to be completed.
The company doing the work is responsible for contacting businesses, residents, bus companies and parish councils affected.
They should put up advanced warning signs two weeks ahead of any planned road closure and they may also do this for sites with significant traffic management.
During the works there must be an information board displayed on site, with details of the contractor carrying out the works, the utility company and an emergency contact number. Displaying the correct permit number is also a requirement.
While the works are in progress, KCC carry out inspections to ensure conditions are being met and that work is progressing at a reasonable speed.
The best way to keep up-to-date on what is happening on Kent’s roads is to visit www.roadworks.org which displays on a map and directly links in to KCC’s systems to show who is doing roadworks and how long they will last.