Agenda item

Agenda item

Highways Maintenance Programme

Report of the Director of Highways


This report provides Members with an update to the report that was considered by the Committee at the meeting of 7 November 2018.



The Committee considered the report of the Director of Highways that provided a further update to Members on the previous Highways Maintenance Programme report and is a follow on from the previous report of 7 November 2018.


The Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -


?       An overview of the Highways Service’s role, key achievements and challenges;

?       An update on the progress of the reactive maintenance programmes;

?       Information on safety inspections, detailing the most common types of highway defects to be checked for during highway safety inspections;

?       Information on additional inspections following reports received from members or the public;

?       Information on repairs, including emergency repairs accompanied by case studies and drainage repair works;

?       Information on the small patching repair programme, noting that regular coordination meetings were held to ensure that all works were aligned to other MCC highways programmes to mitigate against duplication of work;

?       Performance monitoring;

?       The delivery of Social Value including case studies;   

?       The management of utility works;

?       Information on the Cyclical Drainage and Improvement Programme;

?       Information on Community Action Days, including case studies;   

?       Highways planned Maintenance Programme update, providing year 3 progress and year 4 programme confirmation;

?       Major schemes update;  

?       An update on cycling schemes;

?       Information about how information relating to major schemes are provided to both local Ward Councillors and residents;

?       Information on how disruption caused by major schemes was managed; 

?       An update on resident parking schemes;

?       Information on the approach to tree planting in capital schemes;

?       An update on the Street Lighting PFI Programme;

?       An update on the Winter gritting programme, including carriageways, footways and segregated cycle ways;   

?       The provision of motorbike parking facilities; and

?       Information on parking and bus lane enforcement.


Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -


?       Welcoming the investment into the Highways network,

?       How many jobs had been created via Social Value;

?       On some streets both footpaths had been closed during development works that endangered pedestrians e.g. at the Mechanics Institute;

?       The investment in improvements to city centre paved areas was welcomed and it was asked that the footpaths in the district centres could also be improved;

?       The Public satisfaction in the service being higher than any other Greater Manchester Council was welcomed and comment was made that Manchester should also strive to be the highest in England;

?       Noting that there was no current policy in relation to motorcycle parking and this had not been evident in previous correspondence with the Highways Department;

?       The issue of communications with Members and residents about highways works remained an issue;

?       Acknowledging the Performance Dashboard that was available to Members;

?       The need to promote and publicise the good work undertaken by the Highways Department;

?       Would consultation be undertaken on every major Highways project; and

?       How long did it take to implement a resident parking scheme.


The Director of Highways stated that he welcomed the satisfaction rating when considering the major works that had been undertaken and commented that they were the highest in Greater Manchester, however the service always aimed to improve. Members further commented on and welcomed the decrease in recorded complaints. In response to a specific question the Director of Highways confirmed that consultation would be undertaken on every major project and a draft proposal was included in the report.


The Director of Highways responded to the comments regarding Social Value stating that this was overseen by the Highways Social Value Project Manager and the service was accepted as a lead in this area within the Council. He stated that this activity was reported to the Ethical Procurement and Contract Management Sub Group. In response to the question regarding the number of jobs that had been created he confirmed that this information was recorded and would be provided to Members following the meeting.   


The Director of Highways further responded to Members’ questions by advising them that all micro-asphalt material ‘bedded in’ through the movement of traffic over it, so in the early weeks the surface could appear a little rough or ‘open textured’, particularly if there is not much traffic on the street and once the material had ‘bedded in’, it generally looked much more like a ‘new’ road surface. He said that following this period of ‘bedding in’ the works were revisited to ensure the gullies were clear of any debris.


In regard to the closure of footpaths during work by developers the Director of Highways stated that they were looking into this by recruiting additional inspectors. He invited Members if they had specific concerns to report these directly to the Department and this would be investigated. In response to the specific question regarding district centres, he commented that these paved areas would be looked at.


The Chair commented that she would liaise with the Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport; the Lead Member for Disability; the Lead Member for Age Friendly Manchester and the Director of Planning, Building Control & Licensing to discuss the issue of footpaths with the ambition to develop a specific policy regarding how these were managed during periods of construction works.


In response to comments regarding communications between Members and the Department, the Director of Highways stated that Members should always receive a reply to an enquiry they made and that he would investigate any incidents shared with him where this did not happen. The Head of Citywide Highways stated that the Department had utilised the Members Dashboard to improve communications and inform them of works.  The Director of Highways did acknowledge that providing real time data presented a challenge when seeking to inform Members of disruptions to microasphalt programmes due to bad weather and would welcome suggestions from the committee about a solution.


The Chair commented that communications about major projects remained an issue for many Members and she would discuss this further with the Executive Member for Environment, Planning and Transport. Members recommended that a report on the Highways Communication strategy, including communications with Members be included on the Committee’s Work Programme for consideration at an appropriate time.


The Head of Design, Commissioning and Project Management Office described the statutory process of consultation required to implement a resident parking scheme and informed Members that this took 94 weeks to complete. He further commented that lessons learnt and feedback received from previous schemes would be included in future schemes.


In response to questions raised regarding tree planting the Chair informed Members that an update report on the implementation of the Manchester Tree Strategy was scheduled to be considered at the Committee’s meeting of 8 January 2020.




The Committee recommended that a report on the Highways Department’s communication strategy, including communication with Members be included on the Committee’s Work Programme for consideration at an appropriate time.


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