Lancashire County Council’s highways teams are resuming a range of vital work to keep the county moving with measures in place to maintain social distancing.
The highways service has been focused on responding to issues which are critical to safety since the coronavirus pandemic started, such as repairing potholes, streetlights and traffic signals.
Work has now been completed to conduct risk assessments and assess how a range of other essential activities can be carried out safely while minimising the risk of spreading the virus, and ensuring staff and the public are protected.
Work has now restarted on projects to maintain road surfaces, drainage, bridges and other infrastructure, much of which relies on making best use of the drier weather over the summer.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Our top priority has always been to ensure our roads are as safe, and since the national lockdown begun we have been focused on ensuring we can safely sustain the most critical work, such as repairs to potholes.
“In the meantime we have been looking at what other activities are most important in the medium term, and how we could carry these out safely while ensuring social distancing.
“A few weeks ago we didn’t know what impact the virus might have on our staff resources, but we’re in the fortunate position of having a healthy workforce, and our highways teams have been working with our contractors to find safe ways to carry out a range of essential maintenance.”
The council has agreed a highway maintenance programme worth more than £33m which includes £4.4m for maintenance to bridges, £1.5m of repairs to streetlights, £300,000 to upgrade traffic signals and £300,000 for up-keep to public rights of way.
County Councillor Iddon continued: “We’re following government guidance about social distancing and the type of tasks they want us to prioritise, recognising that restrictions to contain the virus could continue for a good while yet, and it’s important that we keep infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and drainage in good condition.
“People will begin to see more activity over the coming weeks as our teams get on with this work, and while social distancing may mean making slower progress with some tasks, the reduced traffic levels at the moment will offer some advantages and help to minimise disruption.
“I’m always grateful for the hard work carried out by our highway teams, however I’d particularly like to thank them for their resilience during the current health crisis. The situation is putting extra pressure on everyone, and in many ways the work carried out by our highways teams to maintain the roads and ensure other vital services can function is more important than ever at present.”