Roadside work and traffic control
Very occasionally you might need to carry out roadside tree work, which requires some form of traffic control. Typically this work would be the felling or pruning of trees which overhang the carriageway and which are, or are likely to become, a hazard to road users.
A likely sequence of events is:
- get quotes for the tree work
- once an acceptable quote has been agreed, find out when the contractor can do the job
- complete a traffic control application. Your contractor can do this, but will sometimes charge you for doing it
- once the application is approved, make sure you are able to hire any traffic control equipment [eg stop/go boards, portable traffic lights, cones, chapter 8 signage] on the agreed date, before confirming the date with your contractor, with Ch 8 operator to lay out and operate
- if applicable, warn neighbours, particularly if their access will be restricted by the works
- on the day, arrive in good time. Make sure that equipment hire drivers have clear directions and warn them if mobile reception in the area is unreliable.
- check to see whether any road closures are already planned for the road in question (eg by utility companies). If you can ‘piggy-back’ on to their closure, you can save yourself the task of making a separate application - the body for doing this is the County Council Highways Dept but most have websites showing this information and the national one is very useful see for example http://cornwall.elgin.gov.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=streetworks.streetworksMap&zoomX=213064&zoomY=65054&zoomS=5000&zoomMapS=5000&
- when obtaining quotes, bear in mind that it can sometimes work out cheaper to have a couple of operatives plus an access platform rather than a team of climbers. Ask for quotes to cover both options.
- you will need traffic control authorisation for any operation which is likely to impact the flow of traffic. Your first point of contact should be the local council. They will refer you elsewhere if required (sometimes depends on the classification of the road)
- this is not a particularly complicated process, but there is quite a lot of diary co-ordination involved – contractors, equipment hire etc. So plan well ahead, councils normally require a minimum of 10 days advance notice. If you can do the work outside peak travel times, this will increase your chances of having the traffic control application approved, but be aware that weekend working might incur increased contractor and equipment hire charges (and may not actually help if the road happens to be a route used for example by holiday traffic)
- make sure you have a copy of the signed-off traffic control authorisation with you, just in case you are challenged by eg the police or council / highways officials
- most councils have processes which allow forms to be submitted – and approved – on-line, thereby saving time and stationery
- operators for the traffic control need to have Ch 8 'tickets' to set up the signage and then operate it if needed.
'Safety and Street Works and Roads Works', Stationery Office about £7 available from Richmond Groundcare, is essential reading.
- Insurance, your contractors will have public liability insurance, check to see if you are working with them e.g. in traffic that you too are covered.