Should we make use of quieter roads and empty car parks?

LMS Highways crews have continued working during lock down delivering essential works to keep the countries roads and infrastructure fit for purpose.

For example, one of our crews has recently been working in a local hospital changing road marking layouts to help with parking and traffic during this busy time for them.

The operational/ commercial/ moral question is whether “non-essential” works should be carried out? Our crews are not working anywhere near 100% capacity but need to be available for emergency and essential works – could they / should they fit other works around this?

The Government and the Construction Leadership Council have been very clear that construction work can continue so long as it can be done in a safe manner and in compliance with the Covid-19 Site Operating Procedures. Personally, I think if each business has adapted their processes to make sure their staff are protected then this country needs to keep working where it can, otherwise our children will be paying for this pandemic for a long time to come.

We have single crewed our vehicles, providing additional vans and allowed staff to travel directly to site in their own vehicles, along with risk assessing and reviewing all our operations to make sure we can either do them or adapt them to maintain the 2m rule. Road marking and road repair are inherently an outside activity which also is a lower risk environment. I wouldn’t expect people to be travelling to work on packed trains/tubes and then cram into high rise office blocks but many industries that more diverse/distributed/etc. have shown that they can continue working safely.

Lastly, there’s the point of opportunity risk. Whilst the roads, runways, car parks, etc. are all empty should we make use of daytime working, full road closures, longer times to carry out tasks – to give our crews the safest opportunity they are ever likely to have to carry out some of these essential repair and maintenance tasks?

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer and everyone’s judgement or viewpoint will be different. We have crews available and can potentially fit other work around our key worker tasks. Give us a call if you have a road marking or road repair need and we can see if it’s safe and sensible to carry it out now or later.

Thanks for reading and would welcome people’s feedback

Paul Winter, Director