Industry urged to think twice before working at night

May 27 2015  

Industry urged to think twice before working at night
Carrying out highway maintenance at night may not always be in the best interests of motorists, the new president of the Local Government Technical Advisors Group has told TP Weekly News.
 
Trevor Collett, who was sworn in to lead the Group last Thursday, said that while night work clearly reduces congestion during the day it carries a greater risk that standards of repair will not be as high.
 
Mr Collett (pictured right, alongside former TAG president Phil Moore) also called for the development and use by local authorities of a new mathematical model to quantify whether it is financially more prudent to carry out works at night.
 
“We do night work because we don’t want to interrupt traffic during the day, but night works have several costs,” said Mr Collett, a technical director with Mouchel. “You expect to pay operatives more money at night, but what are the health dis-benefits to those people? Quality control can be more difficult at night and if you live nearby what do you think about night work?”
 
All these factors have to be properly quantified and balanced out, he says, against the desire to improve traffic flow during the day.
 
“What we are looking for is a mathematical model to establish what are the costs, including the effect of noise on residents and the possible (issue with) quality control.”
 
He added that the way in which decisions are taken as to when local roads maintenance is carried out should be no different as to how they are planned on the strategic road network. “The consequences of closing a motorway during the day is obviously more than closing a cul-de-sac. But if you are that one person who can’t get out of his driveway it is equally as bad as being diverted off a motorway.”
 
Mr Collett added that the issue of night time verses day time works is one example of what he calls "competing objectives" faced by highway engineers.
 
Others include whether to resurface the whole width of a carriageway in one go, or whether to deal with one half at a time. Resurfacing using two or more paving machines working in echelon avoids a cold joint - which can lead to failure in later years - but is likely to mean more delays for motorists in the short term.
 
Balancing the benefits and dis-benefits of either option, he says, represent a "conundrum we highway engineers have to deal with every day".

Return to news listing