Breaking news: Utility companies blasted for road works

Continuing decline in standards, says Devon County Council.

DEVON County Council officials say they are disappointed over the “continuing decline” in standards of road reinstatements by utility companies.

On average, just 50 per cent of utility work was reinstated to the required standard, which is a 13 per cent decrease on last year’s levels - tests have revealed.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, the authority’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: “These initial results are extremely disappointing and it’s unacceptable for road reinstatements by utility companies not to be up to the mark.

“Our highway network is vital to our local economy. Sub-standard reinstatements cause unnecessary damage to our roads and footways, but this sub-standard work is avoidable.”

A sample of 103 reinstatements were randomly selected from works registered by the utility companies between 1 October and 31 December 2010.

All of the reinstatements sampled appeared to be fine based on a visual inspection. The results of the coring programme concluded that, although all of the reinstatements looked to be acceptable, only 51 of the 103 reinstatements sampled actually met with the required specification.

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The most common fault found was that the material had not being compacted adequately in the surface layers. This can result in reduced durability, leading to the road breaking up more quickly than expected.