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The County Council says motorists in Kent have benefited from reduced congestion and shorter duration of road works following the introduction of the ground-breaking Kent Permit Scheme, which controls the way works on the road are planned.
The scheme, aimed at minimising disruption to traffic, has driven new ways of joined-up working – by making companies dig-up the same stretch of road at the same time, rather than sequentially. It has also allowed Kent County Council to apply conditions on work projects, such as increasing the number of gangs, lengthening the hours worked each day, restricting work to holiday periods, and working a seven-day week, to make sure the job gets done in the shortest possible time.
This has cut the duration of road works by one day in every 20, according to a report just published into the scheme’s first year.
The report, Measuring the Success of the Kent Permit Scheme Annual Report (February 2010 - January 2011), also highlights a series of other benefits:
*an increase in the number of first time permanent road repairs – removing the need for a repeat visit and further associated disruption
*better planning by utility firms means that the number of sites where work has been completed to its original programme or before time has increased to 94%, compared to just 86% in the three months before the scheme was introduced
*complaints and queries have fallen by 26% as a result of better information and works management.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste, Bryan Sweetland, said:
“The first year’s results are very encouraging and we hope to build on this to further reduce delays and congestion on Kent’s roads. We want companies that are carrying out the work to continue to seek improvement wherever possible. In particular, one area we will be focussing on is pressing for continued improvement to the quality of reinstatements and repairs to the highway. By working together with the utility companies and others we can continue to raise the standard of our roads.”
Regional and Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said:
"It is very encouraging to see that the introduction of the Kent Permit Scheme has reduced the disruption and delays road works cause for the travelling public.
"I want to see more authorities across the country making use of these powers and we are working to make it easier for councils to use these powers by cutting the red tape they need to get through to put permit schemes in place."