Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities and Place Review & Development Committee chairman, Councillor Gordon Wheeler says the council’s strong track record of innovation on the county’s road network is still alive and kicking.
Successful innovation allows us to make use of new materials, ways of working and technologies to improve the highway services we provide and the value for money they offer, benefiting our residents.
We had a strong history of innovation whilst we delivered our own highways services and this has continued since Via East Midlands began managing our roads in 2016.
One case in point is the way we now clean drains at the side of our roads. We used to clean each of them every 12 months on a rota, but through the collection of data we were able to understand how quickly every drain fills and blocks in Nottinghamshire, allowing us to prioritise cleaning at the locations which needed more frequent attention.
This has resulted in less complaints from residents and we’ve reduced the times we need to clear drains in an emergency which is a great breakthrough. And because we’ve become more efficient, we can devote more time to carrying out additional drain maintenance that pays long-term dividends. Our team even won an award for this innovation.
Electronic works management has been introduced to some of our lighting and maintenance teams, allowing them to work smarter by not only to reacting more quickly to problems, but also providing instant updates to residents on any issues they have reported.
We’re also looking into the feasibility of carrying out our own temporary traffic management through Via for when there are road works rather than contracting this out as we currently do. We think this approach has potential to provide savings of 25%
This would allow gangs to fully manage the traffic and related roadworks and potentially reduce response and clear up times at incidents. This service could also be extended to external customers as a potential further source of income for the council.
We also recently announced that we would spend £1.75m investing in innovative equipment which will speed up and increase the range of options to repair our roads. This will save more money further down the line, improving the quality of road repairs, increasing productivity and extending the life expectancy of our roads.
These innovations demonstrate our ongoing commitment to investing in and improving Nottinghamshire’s roads - last year we set up a £20m cash pot be spent over a four-year period.
Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities and Place Review & Development Committee chairman, Councillor Gordon Wheeler